Listen to or read any of the few remaining defenders of the Iraq war and the right wing bloggers parroting their talking points, and you will hear repeated dire warnings about Al Qaeda taking over Iraq, following the US home to attack them on US soil, and about Iran attacking our coalition troops and reaping the spoils of war. More recently, there is the assumption that the insurgency’s impatience with the Al Qaeda factions in Iraq implies that the US occupation is gaining approval among the Iraqi people.
As is always the case, none of these opinions have any basis in reality.
Myth # 1: If the US ends it’s occupation, Al Qaeda will take over Iraq and Iran will also benfit.
Pentagon simulations on US withdrawal find the most likely scenario would be a three-way split of the country between Kurds, Shias, and Sunnis. Ricks warns while the breakup would be “very ugly,” with possibly “tens of thousands of people dying,” an al Qaeda takeover of Iraq would not be possible by “any stretch of the imagination.”
In addition, the war games also found Iran would not benefit from US withdrawal, and in fact would be sucked in to the same kind of destabilizing sectarian conflict the US finds itself embroiled in.
Myth # 2: The Sunni insurgency is turning against Al Qaeda and accepting the US presence in Iraq
When will Americans learn that the enemy of their enemy is not their friend?
In their first interview with the western media since the US-British invasion of 2003, leaders of three of the insurgent groups – responsible for thousands of attacks against US and Iraqi armed forces and police – said they would continue their armed resistance until all foreign troops were withdrawn from Iraq, and denounced al-Qaida for sectarian killings and suicide bombings against civilians.
This is in spite of the fact that the US is now arming the Sunni insurgents. Money can’t buy love.
Myth #3: The Iran is behind the attacks on coalition troops in Iraq
Washington is still at pains to comprehend that Iran is quite happy having a pro Iranian government running Iraq.
David Milliband, British foreign secretary, confirmed in an interview (1) with the Financial times, 8th July, that there is no evidence of Iranian complicity in instability in Iraq or attacks on British troops:
Asked by the FT, “What do you think of Iran’s complicity in attacks on British soldiers in Basra”?, Miliband’s first response was, “Well, I think that any evidence of Iranian engagement there is to be deplored. I think that we need regional players to be supporting stability, not fomenting discord, never mind death. And as I said at the beginning, Iran has a complete right, and we support the idea that Iran should be a wealthy and respected part of the future. But it does not have the right to be a force of instability”. However, prompted more closely, “Just to be clear, there is evidence?”, he replied, “Well no, I chose my words carefully…”.
This confession came in the context of an implied accusation or a not so subtle suggestion of Iranian role in the instability in Iraq which seem to have stimulated the question “There is evidence?”, to which the reply “Well no …”; a possible disappointment, was nonetheless crystal clear: There is no evidence.