Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Iranian Card

No question now that Iran is squarely in President Bush’s sights.

One of the big pieces in his speech last night was an aggressive warning to Iran:

“We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.”

This is tough stuff.

Earlier this morning, U.S. troops raided Iran’s consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil, seized computers and documents and arrested five employees—all this shortly after the President’s speech.

Secretary of State Condi Rice warned Iran this morning that "the United States is not going to simply stand idly by" while Tehran tries to disrupt Washington’s renewed efforts to stabilize Iraq.

On top of all this, another aircraft carrier group is moving into the Persian Gulf. There are also indications that the U.S. will provide Patriot anti-missile defense systems to nearby allies.

These developments come on the heels of the Treasury Department barring Iran’s oldest bank from American financial markets. Iran’s Bank Sepah has facilitated the funding of Iran’s weapons of mass destruction programs. Treasury Undersecretary Stuart Levey is leading this charge.

Iran is clearly a key aspect of success in this battle’s next stage.

Look for an ongoing dragnet by American troops in Iraq to capture and detain Iranian personnel. I heard this first in the White House background briefing yesterday. Today’s raid on the Iranian consulate confirms it.

President Bush—aka President Backbone—may be fighting an uphill battle in Iraq, but he is sure fighting.