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Thread: Iran & USA allies in Afghanistan:stranger than reality

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  1. #18
    Council Member
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    Oct 2005


    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair
    It's not a metaphor. It's an observation that many other countries and non-state actors could and obviously did learn some techniques from the Cold War and its associated proxy wars.
    A well-known Cold War episode that directly involved Iran is something that I'm sure still has some influence.

    I'm speaking of the 70's, when the Agency funneled millions of dollars of weapons and other supplies through Iran to support a Kurdish uprising against Saddam. The intent was never to enable the Kurds to win, but simply to put enough pressure on the Iraqi regime to force them to make territorial concessions regarding the Shatt al-Arab. Once Iraq and Iran signed, then ratified, the Algiers accord delineating the border in Iran's favor, the Kurds were completely cut-off by the US and Iran.

    It was in response to criticism of first encouraging to revolt, then abandoning the Iraqi Kurds to slaughter that created tens of thousands of refugees, that Kissinger made the famous statement, "covert action should not be confused with missionary work".

    In many ways, this episode is a close analogy to today. The Iranians find the situation upon their borders threatening, but they are not capable of directly intervening to restructure the situation to their liking. However, in their use of proxies, they do not care about the true success or failure of the groups they are supporting: the intent is to mold the political situations in Iraq and Afghanistan so they can be exploited to their benefit.

    To effectively counter this, we need to clearly understand their both their perception of the threat they face and what is their desired end state (to be accomplished through their covert activities). Don't misunderstand me, I am not saying that we cater to their perceptions or desires - they are bad guys, after all. But to efficiently mitigate this threat we need to leverage it from their side - not our image of what's going on.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 06-14-2007 at 03:50 PM.

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