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Knowledge Before Spin: Understanding Iraq-Iran Dynamic Before Petraeus' Address

We hope that readers will consider today's Center for Threat Awareness symposium on Iraq and Iran, where the assembled panel of distinguished experts discuss Iraq's conflict with Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army and, by natural extension, Sadr's Iranian masters and their ongoing war with America.

CTA Symposium: Iraq v. Mahdi Army

We thank Ralph Peters, Dr. Michael Ledeen, and Bill Roggio for their insights and continued hard work. We also would like to thank participants Mohammed and Omar Fadhil for contributing and sharing an Iraqi perspective - so vital yet so often overlooked.

Below, find some notable quotes from the various participants made within the Iraq v. Mahdi Army CTA symposium published today as a PrincipalAnalysis.

Ralph Peters - "One of the most frequently cited maxims in the [Army-Marine Counterinsurgency manual] is T.E. Lawrence's conclusion that it's better for our local allies to do things imperfectly themselves than for us to do things perfectly for them. Well, that's exactly what happened. The Iraqi security forces went for it. They got a bloody nose, but got the best of the fistfight."

Mohammed Fadhil - "Perhaps the biggest mistake in the battle, which did not end with victory in spite of the courage exhibited in the decision to engage the enemy, was Maliki's decision to personally lead the battle as the commander in chief of armed forces."

Omar Fadhil - "[A]lthough it looked like the SIIC and Da'wa spearheaded the political part of the campaign, the decision as a whole reflects the desire of the moderate powers to neutralize the threat posed by Sadr's militia in order to create an environment where politics can be practiced in the closest possible manner to 'fair play'."

Dr. Michael Ledeen - "We are on the verge of defeating and humiliating Iran in Iraq. The Iranian people sense this. I wish we would say it in just those terms, instead of pretending to believe that "international pressure" will eventually bring about a change in the behavior of the regime. That won't work. We're in a great position right now."

Bill Roggio - "This should come as no surprise to anyone following Iranian activities inside Iraq. Iran is fighting a thinly veiled, undeclared war against both the Iraqi people and the United States."

CTA - "Yet [the Iranians] continue to operate training camps and from them funnel into Iraq trained operators, weapons and cash along with other means of supporting attacks against the Iraqi government and Coalition forces. Are these not acts of war?"

Ralph Peters - "I have to say that I'm pleased with the overall quality of this discussion and appreciate the insights offered by all the participants. I only wish more Americans were exposed to exchanges at this level of rationality."

We hope that readers will read the full context of the above quotes and share the CTA Symposium: Iraq v. Mahdi Army with others, ahead of General Petraeus' address to Congress tomorrow.