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Iraqi Ambassador Rises To Iranian Challenge

On a day when most Americans were busy arguing internally over the merits (or lack thereof) contained within the much-heralded Iraq Study Group recommendations, it was an Iraqi challenging Iran. It was a rare exchange, direct and blunt, and one worth noting.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki blamed the presence of US troops for Iraq's current instability and for creating a security problem for Iran and the entire region. That's when the Iraqi Ambassador to the Netherlands rose and challenged his "hypocrisy" and reminded him that the removal of Saddam Hussein "has been, I think, a great advance for you." From the Houston Chronicle:

"The U.S. administration so often refers to Iran's nuclear capability as a threat against regional and international peace," Mottaki said. But "it is the U.S. that ... invaded without any endorsement of the U.N. Security Council, another member of the United Nations, namely Iraq, and so has set off the most dangerous security challenge in the Middle East."

Mottaki said the endless cycle of violence in Iraq is being fueled by the continued U.S. troop presence in the country.

"The terrorist group in Iraq says, 'Because of the continuation of the occupation of this country, we are fighting,'" he said. "The American says, 'Because of terrorist groups, we continue our staying in Iraq.'"

Iraqi Ambassador Siamand Banaa then rose to contradict him, saying that Iran had benefited from the war in Iraq.

"It would strengthen your case and give it much more depth if you tried to avoid cynicism and hypocrisy," Banaa said. "The removal of the worst enemy of the Iraqi people and the Iranian people, Saddam Hussein, who caused the death and destruction of hundreds of thousands and almost the bankruptcy of your country, has been, I think, a great advance for you."

Banaa said Mottaki's analysis was wrong, and that without American troops in his country, "it would be a free-for-all, and in fact real civil war."

He urged Mottaki to get off "the 'America always wrong' brigade."

Note: ThreatsWatch has provided an online copy of the Iraq Study Group Report. Further ThreatsWatch analysis will be published soon. But in the interim, the report's Assessment section appears for the most part reasonably accurate with some detail-oriented discrepancies. The wheels fly off the wagon, however, when the recommendations begin. ...Not the least of which is the rather arrogant determination for the state of Israel that it will hand over the Golan Heights to Syria.