"Political interests can bring together people who otherwise have little in common," goes the Bartleby.com blurb. "This saying is adapted from a line in the play The Tempest, by William Shakespeare: Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows. It is spoken by a man who has been shipwrecked and finds himself seeking shelter beside a sleeping monster." (Willie Anderson as Caliban in Michael Smuin's The Tempest by Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley. Photo by Robert Shomler)
"Those two countries [Iran and Syria] have focused their efforts on one mutual goal for now which is again defeating America in Iraq in order to go ahead with more future steps to dominate the region, and they will support anyone and receive support from anyone in this quest, even some former or potential enemies," writes Omar of Iraq the Model, shaking his head at the West's apparent failure to have long since grasped what the New York Sun headlined yesterday as "Iran's Secret Plan For Mayhem," which reported:
Iran is supporting both Sunni and Shiite terrorists in the Iraqi civil war, according to secret Iranian documents captured by Americans in Iraq . . .
The source was careful to stress that the Iranian plans do not extend to cooperation with Baathist groups fighting the government in Baghdad, and said the documents rather show how the Quds Force -- the arm of Iran's revolutionary guard [whose top commander was captured in the raids] that supports Shiite Hezbollah, Sunni Hamas, and Shiite death squads -- is working with individuals affiliated with Al Qaeda in Iraq and Ansar al-Sunna.
. . . The document concludes, according to these sources, that Iraq's Sunni neighbors will step up their efforts to aid insurgent groups and that it is imperative for Iran to redouble efforts to retain influence with them, as well as with Shiite militias.
"Where's the secret in this!?" asks an exasperated Omar:
I mean really, with some good common sense and some humble analysis this would have never been a secret nor would it have taken years to figure out.
I think this stands as one example of the state of information people in the west have about the geopolitics of the middle east. I can feel that ethnic and sectarian lines are perceived to be concrete lines that no one in the middle east would think of crossing to achieve goals.
As we noted in the comments at Iraq the Model, we are encouraged by the Sun's report that
Rough translations of the Iranian assessment and strategy, as well as a summary of the intelligence haul, have been widely distributed throughout the policy community and are likely to influence the Iraq speech President Bush is expected to deliver in the coming days regarding the way forward for the war, according to two Bush administration officials.
"One of the documents captured in the raids . . . is an assessment of the Iraq civil war and new strategy from the Quds Force . . . the equivalent of "Iran's Iraq Study Group," notes the Sun. The media frenzy at the time notwithstanding, our own "Iraq Study Group" report, with its clueless suggestion that we try to find common ground with our mortal enemies, Iran and Syria, was dead on arrival. We're glad to see Iran's common-sense if sobering equivalent of that report is receiving -- in Omar's words -- some "humble analysis" in the Oval Office. We're wondering whether a close reading of the Iranian document is responsible for what Confederate Yankee is calling "The Negroponte Shuffle."