This is a good thing that should have been done ages ago.
The Bush administration has authorized the U.S. military to kill or capture Iranian operatives inside Iraq as part of an aggressive new strategy to weaken Tehran's influence across the Middle East and compel it to give up its nuclear program, according to government and counterterrorism officials with direct knowledge of the effort.
For more than a year, U.S. forces in Iraq have secretly detained dozens of suspected Iranian agents, holding them for three to four days at a time. The "catch and release" policy was designed to avoid escalating tensions with Iran and yet intimidate its emissaries. U.S. forces collected DNA samples from some of the Iranians without their knowledge, subjected others to retina scans, and fingerprinted and photographed all of them before letting them go.
"There were no costs for the Iranians," said one senior administration official. "They are hurting our mission in Iraq, and we were bending over backwards not to fight back."
Bending over backwards to not fight back.
I understand the logic of diplomacy, but when it comes to the chaos in Iraq, to allow Iranian influence and weapons to endanger our soldiers and the coalition and fuel the sectarian violence, action must be taken. Finally, it is being taken. Let us hope it is not too late.
The article goes on to state that 150 intelligence officers are in Iraq as well as Iran's Revolutionary Guard.
Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enghelab-e Islami), often shortened to Revolutionary Guards, or called by its Persian (Farsi) name Sepah (meaning army) or Pasdaran (meaning "guardians"), is the largest military organisation of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The literal Persian (Farsi) translation of the name means "The Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution".
The Sepah-e Pasdaran is separate from, and parallel to, the Iranian army. They are equipped with their own navy, air force, intelligence, ground troops and special forces. The force is also responsible for Iran's missile forces. The operations of the Sepah-e Pasdaran are geared towards asymmetric warfare and less traditional duties. These include the control of smuggling, control of the Strait of Hormoz, and resistance operations.
The IRGC was formed in May, 1979, as a force loyal to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, but later became a full military force alongside the army in the Iran-Iraq War. It was infamous for its human wave attacks such as during Operation Ramadan, an assault on the city of Basra.
The present Chief Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps is Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi who was preceded by Mohsen Rezaee. Iran's current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a member of the Revolutionary Guards during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.
But, for three years, the Iranians have operated an embedding program there, offering operational training, intelligence and weaponry to several Shiite militias connected to the Iraqi government, to the insurgency and to the violence against Sunni factions. Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the director of the CIA, told the Senate recently that the amount of Iranian-supplied materiel used against U.S. troops in Iraq "has been quite striking."
"Iran seems to be conducting a foreign policy with a sense of dangerous triumphalism," Hayden said.
The Revolutionary Guards presence and Iranian supplied materials used against our troops and coalition forces constitutes an act of war in and of itself.
Hence the new policy.
The new "kill or capture" program was authorized by President Bush in a meeting of his most senior advisers last fall, along with other measures meant to curtail Iranian influence from Kabul to Beirut and, ultimately, to shake Iran's commitment to its nuclear efforts. Tehran insists that its nuclear program is peaceful, but the United States and other nations say it is aimed at developing weapons.
The administration's plans contain five "theaters of interest," as one senior official put it, with military, intelligence, political and diplomatic strategies designed to target Iranian interests across the Middle East.
In Iraq, U.S. troops now have the authority to target any member of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, as well as officers of its intelligence services believed to be working with Iraqi militias. The policy does not extend to Iranian civilians or diplomats. Though U.S. forces are not known to have used lethal force against any Iranian to date, Bush administration officials have been urging top military commanders to exercise the authority.
This does seem to be the best option at this time, because attacking Iran itself would do nothing more than kill innocent citizens, many of which do NOT agree with their country's policies and that must remain a last resort.
The departments of Defense and State referred all requests for comment on the Iran strategy to the National Security Council, which declined to address specific elements of the plan and would not comment on some intelligence matters.
But in response to questions about the "kill or capture" authorization, Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the NSC, said: "The president has made clear for some time that we will take the steps necessary to protect Americans on the ground in Iraq and disrupt activity that could lead to their harm. Our forces have standing authority, consistent with the mandate of the U.N. Security Council."
Officials said U.S. and British special forces in Iraq, which will work together in some operations, are developing the program's rules of engagement to define the exact circumstances for using force. In his last few weeks as the top commander in Iraq, Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. sought to help coordinate the program on the ground. One official said Casey had planned to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a "hostile entity," a distinction within the military that would permit offensive action.
Casey's designated successor, Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, told Congress in writing this week that a top priority will be "countering the threats posed by Iranian and Syrian meddling in Iraq, and the continued mission of dismantling terrorist networks and killing or capturing those who refuse to support a unified, stable Iraq."
Advocates of the new policy -- some of whom are in the NSC, the vice president's office, the Pentagon and the State Department -- said that only direct and aggressive efforts can shatter Iran's growing influence. A less confident Iran, with fewer cards, may be more willing to cut the kind of deal the Bush administration is hoping for on its nuclear program. "The Iranians respond to the international community only when they are under pressure, not when they are feeling strong," one official said.
From Captain's Quarters:
Basically, Iran is taking what action we have been willing to allow to this point. We're about to redefine that, and while some will howl about "escalation", any war on terror would eventually have to address Iran. It's better to do it now by blunting their efforts in Iraq than wait until they have a nuke and have to fight them from Israel and Saudi Arabia. If they're stupid enough to continue provoking us in Iraq, then they have to pay the consequences -- and it's about time they did.
That about sums it up.
Many of us have said time and again that a troop surge would not work without other key changes in our strategy in Iraq, ones that deal with al-Qaeda, Iranian interference and full counterinsurgency efforts to quell sectarian violence.
Others discussing this issue:
Right Truth with Catch and release no more, now it's kill.
No longer will American troops 'catch and release' Iranian operatives in Iraq -- now they have orders to capture or shoot to kill. It's about time. The "catch and release" policy was designed to avoid escalating tensions with Iran. We see how well that worked (not).
Confederate Yankee with WaPo Appalled at Concept of Killing the Enemy.
The actual lede seems to me as a "about damn time" directive but WaPo somehow figures this is front page news:
Hot Air with WaPo: U.S. declares war on Iran in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine.
Exit question: Is this “war” in lieu of, or a preface to, war on Iran itself?
Blogs of War with Bush Gives Troops Authority to Kill or Capture Iranian Operatives in Iraq.
This is action is long overdue:
Bill Hobbs.com with Weasels Wobble.
President Bush has authorized the U.S. military to capture or kill Iranian agents in Iraq who are plotting attacks against U.S. and coalition forces. That's the good news today about the war on terror - instead of caving in to the Democratic Party's demands that we declare defeat and get out of Iraq, Bush is finally doing what he should have done two years ago: getting tough with Iran, the single worse state sponsor of Islamist terrorism worldwide that is fueling the terrorist insurgency in Iraq.
Solomonia with Finally noticing the Iranians?
If you know that you need to foster a re-birth in Iraq, and you know that its neighbors, Syria and Iran, are part of an Axis of Evil, two countries you can expect will subvert, destroy, wreck, murder...to stop it happening, but you know this mission is a world-historical import...why, oh why, weren't you pursuing policies like this from Day 1?
Blue Crab Boulevard with Action - Reaction.
Why didn't we start sooner?
Jules Crittenden with Let The Games Begin.
Great news out of Iraq. U.S. forces have been playing catch and release with dozens of Iranian agents in Iraq. Now, they are authorized to kill them. This, is it hoped, will send a message to Iran. Nothing like the message killing Iranian agents in Iran will send, but its a start. WaPo:
Sister Toldjah with Good news in the WOT: Admin has authorized “kill or capture” program towards Iranian operatives in Iraq, elsewhere.
This is great news, but my question is: Why was this information leaked to the press?
There is your roundup.... enjoy reading them all. They are good.