Syria Air Strike success by Israel may be causing Shift in Iranian and Syrian Policies!
Iran’s newly discovered vulnerability to Aircraft and Missile attacks may cause them to take a more Peaceful Track for Awhile!
September 30, 2007
It will be interesting to see if Iran and Syria begin to cause a decrease in terror activities by the terror groups they either control or influence in Iraq, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank.
Article 1 deals with the terrorist activity in Iraq, while Article 2 involves a Hamas request for a truce with Israel.
Begin Article 1
Begin Excerpt from Los Angeles Times in World news
Iran in deal to cut Iraq arms flow
Petraeus says Tehran’s pledge to Iraqi officials in August may have led to a dip in attacks associated with Shiite militants.
By Alexandra Zavis
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 30, 2007
BAGHDAD — Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has secured a pledge from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to help cut off weapons, funding and other support to extremist militiamen in Iraq, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Saturday.
Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said there were signs of a slight drop in the types of attacks associated with Shiite militants since the deal was reached in August, and he raised the possibility that U.S. and Iraqi officials might be able to do something in return. But he said it was too early to tell whether there had been a real reduction in cross-border support.
“Honestly, and I really mean this, all of us would really welcome the opportunity to see this, confirm it and even — in whatever way we could — to reciprocate,” Petraeus said during a visit to the Baghdad district of Karada. “But it really is wait-and-see time right now still.”
Iranian officials have made no announcement of such a commitment and could not immediately be reached for comment. But they have consistently denied U.S. accusations that members of the elite Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard are supplying advanced weaponry and other help to Shiite militiamen attacking U.S. troops.
Maliki’s aides characterized the agreement reached during a three-day visit to Iran as a promise to better police the long and porous border between the two countries.
“The agreement included a promise by the Iranian government to increase the number of Iranian forces on the border and to increase the efforts to guard the 1,000-kilometer-long [620-mile] frontier,” said Farooq Abdullah, one of Maliki’s political advisors.
An Iraqi official who traveled with Maliki to New York last week for the United Nations General Assembly, said, “The prime minister has been saying recently that the Iranians have been giving him strong promises . . . and that the results of these promises are starting to be felt . . . as far as the trafficking of weapons is concerned.” He asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
But Petraeus said Maliki told him the that agreement went further than
that. “The president of Iran pledged to Prime Minister Maliki during a recent meeting that he would stop the flow of weapons, the training, the funding and the directing of these militia extremists that have been such a huge problem really for Iraq,” Petraeus said.
He reiterated allegations that Iran is supplying rocket-propelled grenades, shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, large rockets and armor-piercing bombs known as explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, which have been used in attacks against U.S. forces.
“Certainly, indirect fire is quite a bit down,” Petraeus said, referring to rocket and mortar attacks. “EFPs, arguably a bit down; some of these others we haven’ t seen for a bi
t. But it certainly is nothing sufficient to call even statistically significant, much less evidence that there has been a real reduction in the assistance provided.” He did not give any figures.
U.S.-led forces have captured “quite a few” of the weapons in recent operations, he said. The apparent dip in such attacks also could be connected to a decision by influential Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr to suspend the operations of his Mahdi Army militia for six months to weed out what he called rogue elements.
“It was the extreme elements of those, the special groups as they are called, that had been employing those different arms,” Petraeus said.
Analysts cautioned against interpreting Ahmadinejad’s commitment as an admission of responsibility.
“The Iranians have repeatedly denied that they are providing weapons to the insurgents,” said Juan Cole, a Middle East expert at the University of Michigan.
“In the absence of a transcript of what exactly Ahmadinejad admitted to or promised, it would be difficult to know what he meant. But it wouldn’t have been an admission to trying to make Iraq unstable.”
All sides, however, have been shaken by a recent escalation in clashes in southern Iraq, where Shiite factions with ties to Iran are vying for political influence and control of the oil-rich region. Tensions between Sadr’s Mahdi Army and its main rival, the Badr Organization, believed to be the largest recipient of Iranian backing, exploded last month during a major religious festival in Karbala.
More than 50 people were killed in street battles. It was after the clashes that Sadr ordered his militia to stand down.
Badr is the armed wing of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, the United States’ top Shiite political ally in Iraq. Two provincial governors associated with the party were assassinated in quick succession in August, and four associates of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the supreme Shiite religious leader in Iraq, have been killed.
Maliki has played a delicate balancing act between Iraq’s two major allies, resisting Iran’s calls for an immediate U.S. pullout while deflecting U.S. demands that he take a tougher stand against Tehran.
The detention of at least six Iranians by U.S. forces here has caused friction between U.S. and Iraqi officials, who view the arrests as a violation of their sovereignty.
Iraqi officials say the Iranians are diplomats and a customs official who had been invited to the country, Whereas the U.S. command alleges that they are Quds Force operatives sent to help arm and train militants.
The aide who accompanied Maliki to New York said the prime minister expressed his frustration to the Bush administration over those arrests and other instances in which U.S. forces acted without consulting his government.
Whereas attacks by Shiite militants appear to have dropped, Petraeus said, the Sunni militant group Al Qaeda in Iraq has stepped up operations since declaring an offensive during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Times staff writer Ned Parker and special correspondent Saif Rasheed in Baghdad and special correspondents in Baghdad, Mosul and Kirkuk contributed to this report.
Begin Article 2
Hamas renews call for cease-fire
Associated Press, THE JERUSALEM POST
September 30, 2007
Hamas called on Sunday for a cease-fire with Israel, a possible indication of the growing pressure the Islamic group faces after months of isolation in the Gaza Strip.
Gaza’s Hamas government “is ready to offer a truce at this time,” Mohammed Awad, a senior Hamas official, told a Gaza Web site affiliated with the Islamic group. Awad’s office confirmed he had made the statement, which echoed similar calls by Hamas in recent months.
A government spokesman dismissed Awad’s statement as a “ploy.”
Gaza has been cut off from the rest of the world since Hamas took it over violently in June. Awad said the truce would only be possible if it helped “to achieve some goals for our people” – likely meaning moves to open sealed border crossings into Israel and Egypt, relieve international economic sanctions and halt IDF army operations against Palestinian rocket squads.
The Arabic word Awad used, “hudna,” denotes a tempor
ary cease-fire rather than a permanent peace.
Government spokesman David Baker accused Hamas of trying to buy time.
“We’ve seen Hamas and other terror organizations use these calls for a cease-fire as a mere ploy in order to allow them to rearm, regroup and reorganize,” Baker said. “Israel will continue to take the necessary steps to defend its citizens and will not sit idly by while these terrorist organizations continue to actively plan and eventually perpetrate terror attacks against us.”
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