Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (R) and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Damascus January 19, 2006. The United States denied on Friday it was preparing for military action against Iran and Syria , after President George W. Bush issued a stern warning to them, raising concerns of a spillover from the Iraq war.
Their comments came after President Bush vowed in a prime-time address to the nation to go after Iranian terrorist networks feeding the insurgency in Iraq.
The U.S. and Iran have been involved in a bitter standoff over Tehran’s nuclear program, a clash that has intensified because the United States says Iran helped provide roadside bombs that have killed American troops in Iraq. Tensions inched upward another notch this week after five Iranians were detained by U.S.-led forces after a raid on an Iranian government liaison office in northern Iraq.
Bush’s remarks Wednesday in a speech announcing his plan to boost U.S. forces in Iraq prompted questions from members of Congress about whether the U.S. is considering attacks on Iranian territory. Bush administration officials have long refused to rule out any options against Iran but said military action would be a last resort.
A recent series of American raids against Iranians in Iraq was authorized under an order that President Bush decided to issue several months ago to undertake a broad military offensive against Iranian operatives in the country, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday.
â€œThere has been a decision to go after these networks,â€ Ms. Rice said in an interview with The New York Times in her office on Friday afternoon, before leaving on a trip to the Middle East.
Ms. Rice said Mr. Bush had acted â€œafter a period of time in which we saw increasing activityâ€ among Iranians in Iraq, â€œand increasing lethality in what they were producing.â€ She was referring to what American military officials say is evidence that many of the most sophisticated improvised explosive devices, or I.E.D.â€™s, being used against American troops were made in Iran.
Ms. Rice was vague on the question of when Mr. Bush issued the order, but said his decision grew out of questions that the president and members of his National Security Council raised in the fall.
The administration has long accused Iran of meddling in Iraq, providing weapons and training to Shiite forces with the idea of keeping the United States bogged down in the war. Ms. Riceâ€™s willingness to discuss the issue seemed to reflect a new hostility to Iran that was first evident in Mr. Bushâ€™s speech to the nation on Wednesday night, in which he accused Tehran of providing material support for attacks on American troops and vowed to respond.
No United States plan to strike at Iran?
The United States WILL go after Syria and Iran in Iraq. We may never hear of the operations. But, if the Qods Forces are in Iraq and aiding the insurgents – they are FAIR GAME.
Hugh Hewitt suggests a few unpublicized bombs in Iranian IED manufacturing facilities might be in order to gain some Iranian RESPECT and FEAR.
Meanwhile, more American military assets are making their way to the Persian Gulf.
Could it be there is more to the SURGE than Iraq?
The “NUCLEAR POINT OF NO RETURN” is imminent.
The Natanz uranium enrichment complex in Natanz is pictured in this January 2, 2006 satellite image.
Technorati Tags: Iran, Ahmadinejad AliLarijani, Israel