Call It War, Mr. President
By Kenneth R. Timmerman
Don’t miss HONOR KILLING, Ken’s new thriller on Iran, radical Islam,
and the war on terror. For more information, see
The Islamic Republic of Iran has been waging war against America
in Iraq from the very first days of U.S. military operations against
Saddam Hussein. And yet, until just recently, no one in the U.S.
government has been willing to acknowledge this openly.
Iran began planning operations to undermine an eventual U.S. invasion
of Iraq many months before U.S. military forces arrived in the region
in late 2002.
As I will reveal in my upcoming book, Shadow Warriors, one aspect of this
forward-looking Iranian planning became apparent as U.S. troops were
rolling toward Baghdad.
Whereas the United States was still relying on a Commando Solo
aircraft to beam crude Arabic-language radio programming into Iraq, the
Iranians unrolled a whole series of slick, Arabic language television
stations that blanketed the entire country with anti-U.S. propaganda.
The effect on Iraqi public opinion was devastating. At one point, Iran
had 42 radio and TV stations in Arabic beaming into Iraq, whereas the
U.S.-led coalition had just one.
A new report jointly sponsored by the Weekly Standard and the Institute
for the Study of War, released
last week, provides extraordinary new details of Iran’s propaganda,
intelligence, and military offensive against the U.S. presence in Iraq
since those early days of the war.
Kimberly Kagan has done yeoman’s work in pulling together information
released in dribs and drabs in recent months by U.S. military spokesmen
Here are just a few of the main points she covers in great detail
in this dense 32 page report:
• Iran is using Hezbollah to train Iraqi terrorists, sending top
Hezbollah operatives into Iraq periodically to ensure hands-on
management of their terror protégés;
• Iran has set up training camps near Tehran where they regularly
graduate classes of between 20-70 terrorists, who then return to Iraq
as a self-contained network to carry out terrorist operations against
U.S. military and Iraqi targets;
• The Revolutionary Guards “Qods Force” is running operations in Iraq
through a network of ‘secret cells” within Shia militias, whose agents
assassinate key Iraqi leaders, run death squads, infiltrate government
ministries, and distribute weaponry to other insurgents.
• Iran is also working with Sunni terrorist groups, include al Qaeda in
Iraq and an Ansar al Islam, and has been terrorists from both groups at
special camps inside Iran.
This deadly litany of Iranian actions leaves no doubt about the
intentions of Iran’s leaders.
They aim to defeat us in Iraq. It’s as simple as that.
They have declared war, and intend to continue waging war until we
defeat them, or they defeat us.
Judging by recent statements from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he and
his fellow Revolutionary Guards officers have little doubt who is
At a Tehran press conference on Tuesday, the Mighty Midget said that
U.S. political influence in Iraq is “collapsing rapidly,” and he kindly
offered to take our place.
"Soon, we will see a huge power vacuum in the region,” he said.
“Of course, we are prepared to fill the gap, with the help of neighbors
and regional friends like Saudi Arabia, and with the help of the Iraqi
Over the past nine months, U.S. military leaders in Iraq have gradually
started to wake up to the enormity of Iran’s offensive operations
inside Iraq, and to target Iranian networks.
The first major U.S. counter-strike took place last December, when the
U.S. arrested a top Revolutionary Guards officer in Baghdad and started
to learn of Iran’s extensive intelligence and terrorist networks in
Iraq during bedside chats with the gentle Iranian.
Already then, I
noted on this page that “Victory in Iraq cannot come until the
United States makes it clear to Iran – even more than Syria, since the
Syrians will take their lead from Tehran – that we will no longer
tolerate their intervention in Iraqi affairs.”
That remains true today, and our failure to send a tough message to
Tehran and utterly smash their networks in Iraq and their support
structures in Iran has only encouraged them to step up attacks on U.S.
U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker has acknowledged that since the
U.S. agreed to talk with Iran about Iraq, Iranian operations in Iraq
“up and not down.” The more we talk, the quicker they shoot.
Since the spring, when Sunni tribal leaders started coming over to the
coalition and deserting al Qaeda, we have had significant successes
against these Iranian terror networts. But they have received little
attention in the press – and for good reason: the State Department has
been desperate to hush up Iran’s deadly war against America, in the
vain hope they can still negotiate an end of Iran’s nuclear weapons
Kimberly Kagan notes that since March 2007, the U.S. has detained,
captured, or killed a significant number of Iranian agents and their
proxies in Iraq.
• Qayis Khazali, an Iraqi promoted by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards
to head their “special groups” inside Iraq. Khazali and his brother,
Laith, were captured in March.
• Ali Musa Daqduq, a top Lebanese Hezbollah operative sent by Iran to
organize and train secret Iranian cells in Iraq. He was captured by the
U.S. on March 20, 2007.
• Abu Yaser al Shibani, the deputy commander of an Iranian network that
supplied money, access to the IRGC, and Iranian-made Explosively Formed
Penetrators (EFP). He was captured on April 20, 2007.
• Azhar Dulaymi, the mastermind of the
Jan. 20 raid in Karbala that killed five U.S. soldiers. He was
killed by U.S. Special Forces on May 19, 2007;
Since May, more than a dozen additional “high-value” individuals
trained in Iran and used by Iran to run their “secret cells” inside
Iraq have been killed or detained.
And yet, despite these successes by the U.S. military, the Iranians
keep sending more agents, more explosives, and training new Iraqi
Mr. President, it’s time to call this by its name.
We are at war. And it’s not just the abstract War on Terror.
We are at war with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In Tehran, they know this. And they gloat when we refuse to recognize
it and continue to say how eager we are to talk to them.
In his talk with conservative bloggers last week,
the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol argued that President Bush and the
Pentagon need to do a better job of selling the war, especially now
that our generals in Iraq believe they are on the way to utterly
destroying the insurgency.
But the first step toward “selling” the war is acknowledging the simple
fact that we are at war. With Iran.
his column last Thursday, the Washington Post’s David Ignatius
revealed that the State Department and Democrats in Congress conspired
in the fall of 2004 to block a secret CIA program to defeat Iranian
efforts to influence the Iraqi elections.
It seems that House speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was briefed on the top
secret Presidential finding as Minority Leader at the time, was more
concerned with defeating President Bush than in defeating Iran.
We should not be surprised by this news.
As last week’s United Press
International/Zogby poll showed, the national security glue that
used to unite the two parties against foreign threats has been burned
away by the Baghdad sun.
Despite all the facts now being reported out of Iraq of U.S. military
victories, the poll found that 66% of Democrats believed the Iraq war
is “lost,” as compared to just 9% of Republicans.
So now it’s official. Republicans are the Party of Victory, and
Democrats the Party of Surrender.
Mr. President: it’s time to stop pandering to the Party of
Surrender, unless it’s your own rendition you are seeking to negotiate.
We are at war, and Americans are not quitters, despite what Nancy
So let’s roll.
Kenneth R. Timmerman was nominated for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize along
with John Bolton for his work on Iran. He is Executive Director of the
Foundation for Democracy in Iran, and author of Countdown to Crisis:
the Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran (Crown Forum: 2005).