Jeff Emanuel

It is indeed an opportunity for the Iraqi government to decide, and demonstrate, just what they are willing to tolerate. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani was reportedly ‘unhappy with the arrests” of the first Iranians taken into custody, and his displeasure is unsurprising if looked at from the point of view of many who have been displeased – at best – with his inability (and apparent unwillingness) to stem the Iranian invasion and the domestic sectarian violence within the nation. The publicization of these developments – the detainment of Iranians suspected of active plotting and terrorist activity within Iraq – not only throws the spotlight on Iran, as they will have to answer for their own people having been caught in Iraq, but also puts the onus on the fledgling Iraqi government, forcing them into taking a public stance on Iranian insurgence and activity within their country.

As these arrests and captures mount, Iran will be increasingly shown to be actively – and provably – working to further destabilize Iraq. In response, the Iraqi government, whom we have been trying for some time now to get to stand up for itself, will be forced to do just that – or accept the inevitable fate of acquiescing fully (and publicly) to Iran.

As Hadley said, “Any time you have questions about crossing international borders there are legal issues. We intend to deal with it by interdicting and disrupting activities in Iraq sponsored by Iran.”

In this case of apprehending the enemy, regardless of origin, in a combat area, America is doing the right thing. For their own sake, and for ours, the Iraqi leadership needs to fully recognize that Iran is no friend of theirs in the region, and to finally take a public – and private – stand for their allies, and against their enemies, Iran and Syria.

We can urge them to make the correct decision; however, we can neither make it, nor enforce it, for them – thus leaving us with a bit of a Catch-22 situation in the region. While we cannot afford to leave until the insurgency has been put down, the President is also attempting to convey to the Iraqi government that our commitment is not “open-ended” – and, thus, that we are willing to depart before it has been defeated.

Putting the Iraqi government on the spot by apprehending the Iranians and Syrians we catch in-country, and by publicizing both their actions and their captures, will serve not only to show those paying attention that Iraq’s neighbors are interfering – very violently – in the affairs of the unstable, fledgling democracy, but it will also put enough pressure on the government itself to make the correct decision with regard to those countries, and take a more active role in putting down the insurgency and in preventing the influx of foreign fighters.

Jeff Emanuel

Jeff Emanuel, a Special Operations military veteran, is a Leadership fellow with the Center for International Trade and Security at the University of Georgia, where he also studies Classics. In addition, he is a contributing editor for conservative web log, and is a columnist for the Athens, GA Banner-Herald newspaper.

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