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Just passing on the news, but I think this story needs to get some more attention given the recent desire some candidates and public officials have shown to "Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran"...

From Rawstory:

It was reported on Sunday that Iranian officials had helped broker a ceasefire agreement in the recent fighting between Iraq's government and radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Iran has close ties to both al-Sadr's movement and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and representatives of two of the parties in Maliki's coalition traveled to Iran to finalize the talks.

CNN's Nic Robertson reported from Baghdad on Monday that the ceasefire appears to be holding and stores in Basra are reopening. Robertson also explained that the recent violence represented conflict among Shi'ite factions, which was why the Iranians were able to act as brokers.

"There's a broad alliance of Shia parties here in Iraq that have been sort of struggling and struggling to hold themselves together over the recent months," Robertson stated. "That alliance essentially broke down with this recent fighting, and it appears that Iran has wanted the Shias to remain united here, that they don't want massive violence right on their own doorstep."

It's obvious that this is a smart political move by Iran - after all, taking a role in a peace process can't help but elevate their status in the region and the international community. It also makes it a hell of a lot harder for the US to claim legitimacy in starting an Iranian invasion before the election... that is, if the story gets enough play with the American public.

That being said, it's will most likely serve to strengthen Iran's influence within the country, as they will be seen as the peace brokers, and the US-backed government as the losing aggressors. But the biggest message is this - Iran doesn't want civil war in Iraq any more than we do, and they are actively working against the US narrative to define them as aggressors in this conflict.

Minor update - here's the direct link to the CNN story

Originally posted to Mercutio on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 09:51 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips (31+ / 0-)

    Heard this on CNN on my way out the door this morning, and at the time of the posting, hadn't seen any posting on Kos for it - felt it had to get out there. My apologies if it's a dupe.

    "Love your country always. Love your government when it deserves it." - Mark Twain

    by Mercutio on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 09:53:46 AM PDT

    •  One correction. The U.S. didn't want peace. (9+ / 0-)

      The quoted sentence could use some modification.

      But the biggest message is this - Iran doesn't want civil war in Iraq any more than we do, and they are actively working against the US narrative to define them as aggressors in this conflict.

      Cheney encouraged the attack by Malicki on Sadr's forces. We did not want peace.

      Iran wanted peace in this situation.

      "It's the planet, stupid."

      by FishOutofWater on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 10:01:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  have we ever really wanted peace? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotterperson, rapala, FishOutofWater

        Takes a lot of torture though to get Iraqis to change their minds on whose oil it is.

        Another Proud Subscriber to the Mariachi Mama Candidate Bickering Moratorium!

        by borkitekt on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 10:04:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  By "we" I mean the US population (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Neocon machinations aside, can you think of anyone you know that wants to see more bloodshed in Iraq? Even the most right-wing gungho yellow ribbon toting folks I know are sick of seeing people dying there.

        Plus, as one of the commentators has noted below, there seems to be some disagreement as to whether Maliki initiated this on his own, and Bushco was forced into the role of cheerleader in a losing fight, or if he was encouraged by forces within the administration.

        From my standpoint, it doesn't serve our interests (or neocon interests, for that matter) at all to have open warfare on the streets. It further erodes their rationale for further colonial misadventures in the Mideast. The only way that the neocons could have benefited by this was to draw Iran into the fighting to prop up their rationale for war... a tactic reminiscent of Osama Bin Laden's tactics drawing us into Afghanistan to inspire a larger jihad against America.

        Unfortunately for the neocons, if this was their intent, the Iranians have proven to be much smarter than Americans when exercising their foreign policy. More flies with honey, ey?

        "Love your country always. Love your government when it deserves it." - Mark Twain

        by Mercutio on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 10:21:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  'Twas spozed to be Cheney's first move into Iran (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but it didn't work. Cheney wanted to blow the whole thing wide open. Instead, al-Maliki's own Da'wa and ISCI coalition partners went behind his back to broker a peace with Iran. al-Maliki comes out weaker. Iran and al-Sadr come out stronger. Cheney goes back to plotting.

        •  Pretty poor strategy (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Yeah - I can see him trying this, but it really didn't make sense from a strategic standpoint. Maliki isn't anywhere near strong enough to assert dominance over the Shi'ites, and the majority of the surge success myth was based on Sadr's ceasefire from a few months back. The only reason I could fathom for Cheney trying to act now would be that he's running on an invasion timetable that would require action on Iran's part.

          But the fact of the matter is that all that Iran has to do win dominance in Iraq is run out the clock until the US finally withdraws its forces. There's no reason for them to encourage more fighting. Cheney and the neocons have to know this, and it's unlikely that they'd encourage a move with so much risk and so little a chance of providing significant return.

          It seems more likely to me that Maliki sensed his time was up, and desperately needed to do something to make him appear powerful and relevant. It seems to me, he was determined to act, and the neocons went along with it because they had little choice but to support their puppet. I think that if it had been a neocon initiated action, it would have been much stronger, US led, and the "72 hour" deadline would have never been declared - after all, the neocons managed to hold off from declaring benchmarks in Iraq for ages for the sole purpose of avoiding responsibility for their failure. Why on earth would they inspire Sadr to prove himself by presenting him with an arbitrary deadline to defy?

          "Love your country always. Love your government when it deserves it." - Mark Twain

          by Mercutio on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 11:22:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, it's a timetable. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The neocons need a staged incident to try to scare people into voting for McSame. Tthey fail to realize they've been yelling "wolf" for far too long, that Congress won't be stampeded into going along with them nor will the rest of us.

            Seems to me Cheney played to al-Maliki's fears and pushed him into this fiasco. They certainly could not have anticipated that al-Maliki's own coalition would do a direct work-around with Iran. They also didn't do the homework to find out just how entrenched the Mahdi is in Basra and how much support it has elsewhere. They've consistently underestimated al-Sadr's deftness at politics. So instead, al-Sadr has gained more street creds in holding out for five days and then dictating cease-fire terms -- again. And the Mahdi still holds most of Basra and keeps its weapons along with the nice new vehicle and weapons turned over to them by mutinying police.

            These people could not strategize their way out of a paper bag.

            •  Definitely see your point, but... (0+ / 0-)

              If the US really wanted Iran to get involved in an "incident" on Iraqi soil, this wasn't the way to go about it. After, it's pretty easy to create a false flag operation in a warzone you control. And it really undermines all of the political myths that the administration has been portraying to the US public, including the legitimacy of Maliki as a leader, as well as the surge success myth. And if Maliki had succeeded, the benefits to the administration would have been minimal at best.

              That being said, maybe Cheney did push this - but on his own. It seems likely that his personal power is eroding to the point where he can no longer command the loyalty that would be necessary for a false-flag operation, and his future is so tied up with Haliburton that leaving office without an Iranian conflict would significantly impact his financial standing. Perhaps his recent press appearances and trip to the Middle East were his last gasp attempts to re-invigorate his relevance and power to further antagonize the conflict there. Going to meet with Maliki and pressuring him to take a hard line against Sadr would be one way he could still use his office to make trouble without having to go through the proper channels with the state department if he's been drowned out on an Iranian war in the cabinet meetings.

              Needless to say, however, this would be acting against the real US interest in the region, and against the administration's interest. So, perhaps this incident is evidence of a civil war in Neoconlandia... rather than in Iraq...

              btw - many thanks for the insightful comments, emacd  - has really kept me thinking about the situation. ;)

              "Love your country always. Love your government when it deserves it." - Mark Twain

              by Mercutio on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:13:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  You don't know what McCain knows. (0+ / 0-)

      McCain knows that the US economy is wrapped around the engine of "deconstruction-reconstruction."

      McCain knows that in order to keep the great unwashed driving their Hummers, he's got to keep that economic engine of war running and grinding.

      McCain knows that the last drops of oil are going to be squeezed out of the Middle East.

      McCain knows . . . .

      To a Democrat, "democracy" means "free elections." To a Republican, "free markets."

      by XOVER on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 10:17:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  it (6+ / 0-)

    it also shows who is really in control in Iraq, hint it aint us.

  •  Iran has been teh big winner in Iraq (7+ / 0-)

    They are smart enough to not want to loser Shiite power by infighting.

    It seems that the U.S. - Cheney in particular - encouraged Maliki to start this battle. Iran helped put a stop to it.

    Bush doesn't want peace in Iraq.

    "It's the planet, stupid."

    by FishOutofWater on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 09:58:31 AM PDT

  •  because I must. (0+ / 0-)

    A plague on both your houses

  •  Yeah, tristero also covered this nicely (4+ / 0-)

    at Hullabaloo:

    . . .

    Cole also notes in his headline that Bush has been reduced to sheer irrelevancy: al-Sadr and Iran clearly are in control of the situation.

    Think about that. Four thousand plus American lives have been sacrificed, countless Iraqis have also died, at a financial cost in the multiple trillions and the upshot is not democracy but the spread of radical Shiite islamism. There aren't words in the English language ominous enough to describe how profound a catastrophe this is.

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 10:03:04 AM PDT

    •  The end of the American Empire (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, wader, ExStr8

      is a catastrophe to us.

      The rest of the world may have a different perspective.

      "It's the planet, stupid."

      by FishOutofWater on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 10:10:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I believe he was referencing (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        empathy, FishOutofWater

        the "catastrophe" as being both our complete fuckup of our policy goals in that country, and a complete lack of coherence, safety, stable government, etc. in that country's current status and direction.

        For context, tristero typically rails against our involvement in Iraq due to its effects on the Iraqis and neighboring region.

        "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

        by wader on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 10:21:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The end of the empire (0+ / 0-)

        would not be a catastrophe for the US, only for those who hoped to profit from it in money and power. We are not cut out to be an empire.

        It is not the business of the state to help its citizens get into heaven nor to save them from hell.

        by DanK Is Back on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 10:42:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  So (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, ExStr8, empathy

    We're supposed to attack Iran to stop this silly peace talk, once and for all?.

    Iranians aren't stupid; in fact, they're scholars and scientists, artists and astute businessmen. If we engage with them, we win; otherwise, we continue Bush's stalemate, which only lines the coffers of crony-run contractors.

    The end of this administration can't come soon enough!


  •  Iran is calling the shots (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, ExStr8, Eiron, empathy

    Maliki was backed in the offensive by the SCIRI and it's Badr militias. It was essentially a power struggle between the Hakim's SCIRI and Sadr's political party with the Iraqi army siding with the Badr militias and many police defecting to the Sadrists. The SCIRI was formed in Iran by exiled Iraqi Shiites during the Iraq-Iran war. Both the Badr organization and the Iraqi born Sadr movement recieve financing, arms and training from Iran. They are both essentially pro-Iranian anti-American political parties.

    The Iranians were mediating between two Iranian backed groups with whom the Americans despite the occupation have little influence. Maliki was hoping to weaken or destroy the Mahdi Army before they were carried to power in upcoming elections. Having failed miserably Maliki is weaker then ever. Let McCain now explain how the surge was worth it because it enabled the election of Muqtada al-Sadr to power in Iraq.

    •  and al-Maliki's weakness means (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that our puppeteering string-pulling becomes  less and less effective.

      al-Sadr is, imho, not a shill for Iran but an Iraqi nationalist. This is a case of primary loyalties, not national or transnational politics blurred by artificially established colonial borders.

      •  Sadr (0+ / 0-)

        Compared to the SCIRI which was founded in Iran and whose leadership lived in Iran and sided with Iran during the Iran Iraq war Sadr is the most Iraqi nationalist of the Shiite groups. However he has very close ties with Iran, like the SCIRI receives their support and would see them as a natural ally against the US.

        If you want to get a sense of who is in the drivers seat in Iraq. When Bush visited it was top secret and he had to sneak in and out never leaving heavily fortified US bases. The Iranian president came in on the airport road to a well publicized and televised reception and traveled outside the Green zone like he owned the place.

  •  Cheney sneaked into Baghdad; Bush couldn't even (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    go there, had to stay at US Airbase in desert.

    But remember Iranian President Ahmadinejad's state
    visit to Baghdad?

    Iranian leader warmly received in Baghdad

  •   the blogosphere has come full circle (0+ / 0-)

    when this glorious revolution began we were all commending each other for our insights and abilities to bring the news that the traditional screaming cable outlets were denying us.  These days post after post parrots the chattering class on CNN, MSNBC and even, gasp, horror, with disclaimers of i never watch but......FOX News!!  while KO is reduced to begging for viwers on DK, pathetic.

    If you must re-gurgitate canned news go to people and places who actually do have the knowledge and insight. That in the case of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's holy alliance with the Mahdi Army would be JUAN COLE on Informed Comment.

    I don't suppose now anyone would even admit that possibility of McCain knowing exactly what he was saying last week when was accused of 'mis-speaking' regarding the Iranian influence in the Shia militias, or that Senator Clinton's vote to censure the Iran Revolutionary Guard may have come from her military advisers, the chief of which is General Wesley Clark.

    The naivete of many in the blogosphere is becoming embarrassing.  Same goes for the blather about the Texas caucuses and the March fundraising.  I don't see any evidence that the Obama campaign is making HUGE gains anywhere, they are still about statistically dead even.  Why can't he close the deal?

    In fact I sense a subtle shift in the torture by media cacophany.  Last week they were all showing incredibly uflattering photos of Clinton looking haggard and tired, this week she is suddenly looking perky and mature again.  For lifetime media watchers the headlines and photos chosen are all revealing.

    •  Iranian influence (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Iran doesn't just support the Mahdi Army it also plays the same role with the Shiite groups running the government. Maliki's biggest backer the SCIRI and it's Badr militias was founded in Iran and headquarted in Tehran until the Iraq war.

      Both sides in the Shiite conflict are anti-American pro-Iranian groups. The media conventiently leaves out that fact when speaking about Maliki and his backers. When we empowered the Shiites we empowered Iran. There is nothing we can do about Iran's influence among the Iraqi Shiite political parties we are the outsiders in thier backyard. They have shared long term strategic interests against Sunni dominance for centuries.

      Hillary's vote in the Iran resolution shows why she does not have the judgment to be CiC. It does nothing to improve the situation but it gives Bush cart blanche to attack the Revolutionary Guard in Iran whenever he chooses. It's the second Hillary has given Bush the power to go to war without Congressional assent.  

    •  McCain's "misspeaking" was about supposed Iranian (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      barbwires, empathy

      influence in al Qaeda, a Sunni group. Iran does have some influence in the various Shiite groups, as this story shows. I don't remember anyone in the blogosphere criticizing McCain for saying that Iran had influence in the Shiite groups. We criticized him because he said something else entirely.

      Or am I misunderstanding your criticism?

      Barracking for Barack.

      by paintitblue on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 10:39:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ummm... (0+ / 0-)

      I get that you're a Clinton supporter, but I don't get what any of this...stuff has to do with the diary at hand.

    •  McCain said (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that Iran supported Al Queda.  NOT
      Iran does have it's hands all over the Iraqi SHIITE situation, but NOT the Sunnis or Al Queda.

      Be the change you want to see in the world.

      by empathy on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:03:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just heard some poll results.. (3+ / 0-)

    today, that a majority of the uS public identify Iran as our #1 enemy, then Iraq and then China.  This news needs to filter down to the public conscience.  I hope Obama will stress this point and do away with Bush's "Axis of Evil" rhetoric...

  •  Goes To Show How Irrelevant Bush Is Even Iraquis (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ExStr8, paintitblue

    Dont trust him to end the fighting.

    Obama '08 YES WE CAN
    God Bless America. God Damn George Bush

    by DFutureIsNow on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 10:19:22 AM PDT

  •  I want to apologise for my comments in this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I just lost my head, after spending a few minutes in the Hidden Comments and got really irritated.  I shall stop osting from now on unless I feel it really important to corret some disinformation.

    Adding to the cacophany and mis and dis information is counter productive and impolite. I do not wish to be either.

    Have a good election season guys and girls.

    •  I have just done something I had not done before (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      as I am retired and on a limited fixed income I have not contributed money to eithetr campaign.

      The minuite after i posted my previous comment i realised that it was time for me to get really seriouys and pull out all the stops, including the financial one.

      So i imediately donated $100 to the Clinton campaign as penance for my previous lack of committment.

      I shall only particpate in this election on a contructive and productive nasis and shall stop posyting provocative comments that seem to irritate Obama supporters, merely by my being a supporter of Senator Clinton.

      As I said, have a good election because you definitely are going to need us in the fall.  Whether or not you can elist enough of us if your candidate wins the nomination is entirely up to you. Senator Obama and senator Clinton are doing their bit and i vow today to participate constructively toward a better future for the united states of America.

    •  Take care and a deep breath. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Don't let the turkey get you down!

      Be the change you want to see in the world.

      by empathy on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:05:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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