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US and Iran Cold Conflict: Backchannels of the Iraq War

US and Iran Cold Conflict: Backchannels of the Iraq War #GIFiles

August 5, 2012 Written by Editors featured

This piece was made through an investigative partnership with Wikileaks. Donate to Wikileaks.
Photo: An Iraqi woman walks between soldiers as they security for a mission outside Scania Base, Iraq. Creative Commons//U.S. Federal Government. (2009-08-18), 13:26
[Image: iraqi_woman2_090810-thumb-640xauto-9001-300x191.jpg]REYKJAVIK -
September 11th and the fall of the Twin Towers marked the beginning of a new era of relations between the Eastern and Western powers. After the U.S. and its allies declared the War on Terror in 2001 in Afghanistan, there has been a non stop escalation of violence in the Middle East. The second phase of the War began on March 20th 2003, as Coalition forces, made up mostly of U.S. military troops, invaded Iraq triggering a intricate conflict that is still claiming lives. By 2012, the amount of people that have died violently in Iraq is very difficult to determine: estimates range from 80 thousand to almost 600 thousand deaths.
This piece is a brief analysis of a thread opened in Stratfor's classified mailing list, available thanks to Wikileaks' Global Intelligence Files release (LINK), that deals with secret negotiations regarding the return of the last US troops from Iraq in 2011. Although this decision was made public on August 24th, the subject was being discussed in one of the most restricted communication channels of the Texas based intelligence company at least since July of the same year.
Stratfor's Alpha email list is the channel where insight reported from sources around the world is collected by watchers' and discussed by other high ranking members. In these classified email dialogues watchers from around the world posted the disclosures made by their sources regarding issues of interests to their clients, which range from the U.S. State Department or large oil companies.
The list was highly secretive and not known to all staff. The Director of the Watch Officer Group states in an email that members should "not mention or refer to the "Alpha list" outside the Alpha List"*1 also suggesting that they should "remove any reference to Alpha list in the subject line of the email". Consequently, this list is a very interesting place to get a candid look at the inner workings of power, and can be used to explain and understand the truth behind historical events, in this case the struggle between Iran and the U.S. over their interests in Iraq.
For years many issues dealing with the Iraq war were central to Statfor's internal mailing lists, with thousands of emails exchanged on the subject. Thanks to their key strategic relationships and sources, Stratfor intelligence can provide some very interesting background facts on the war. One of these was the incredible behind-the-scenes power struggle that went on between the U.S. and Iran over the war in Iraq, as two recognized enemies clashed unseeingly behind the spotlights. As a Stratfor watcher put it:
"Iran's facilitation of the US invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein formed the foundation of a US-Iran negotiation over the future of Iraq"*2.
Apparently, as the U.S. benefited from the tolerance Iran had shown earlier, they did not calculate that the
"the fall of the Sunni Baathist regime would fundamentally upset the Arab/Persian and broader Sunni/Shia balance of power in the Persian Gulf region. As a result, the US position has increasingly felt the need to develop a strong counterbalance to Iranian power in Iraq."*2
This counter balance was needed urgently, as the last 50 thousand US soldiers were set to leave Iraq at the end of 2011 under the approved SOFA agreement. At this time Iranian officials understood the delicate situation the US was facing and decided to exploit it in favor of their own interests. The dangerous power vacuum that was bound to happen in Iraq meant they had to contacted:
"If it can be worked out with the government in Baghdad you need a government in Baghdad… [But] even if you are talking to the govt in Baghdad, you are still dealing with Iran on this issue. First, you have to talk the Iranians. Hence, the negotiations…"*3
These crucial negotiations were going on when an unknown source, mentioned as an Iranian diplomat', told a Stratfor watcher the terms of agreement Iran was proposing for a resolution of the conflict:
"1. Iran wants the US to cease its support to secessionist ethnic groups in Iran, namely the Balochs in Balochistan-Sistan and Arabs in Khuzistan (Ahwas), in addition to Mujahidin e-Khalq.
2. Iran will suspend uranium enrichment for a year.
3. Iran will give international inspectors access to its nuclear sites.
4. Iran will allow US troops to withdraw smoothly from Iraq.
5. The US gives Iran a free hand in Iraq and allows it to form the cabinet of its choice."*3

At Stratfor analysts interpreted this statement as an intention on behalf of the Iranian regime to use the intelligence company as a backchannel for negotiating with or for probing the U.S. administration at the time:
"They both come from the same source, who (I believe) has used this communication link through S4 in attempt to send messages to the US administration. I believe this message below is being transmitted through a number of backchannels. "*3
If these claims were true, however, the proposals made by the source could be taken both as an accurate assessment of Iran's goals, as well as a deliberate conceit in order to probe the US Administration's own goals. This last statement should not be taken lightly as the same source also stated that at that time President Ahmadinejad "chose to sound concerned when he told Press TV last week"and that he wanted to give the impression that Iran may be willing to make serious concessions, even though "his real aim was to get the US to engage Iran and give it more time until it achieves its nuclear objectives."*3
The Iranian nuclear program was always one of the U.S. Administration's chief concerns, as they believed it could be used in the future to develop nuclear weapons, threatening the region's stability against their own interests. With this tactical advantage to their favor the Iranian government used its nuclear strategies with clear political intentions. As another watcher states:
"Iran has primarily spent the past decade using its nuclear program as a bargaining chip in broader negotiations with the US over Iraq, as the Iraq imperatives comes well before the desire to develop a nuclear deterrent strategy. The more confident Iran becomes over Iraq, the more energy and resources it can devote to building a credible nuclear deterrent to round outs security"*2
As another watcher states it is definitely clear that Iran had the upper hand this time around and that they just had to
"play around with U.S. perceptions. They know that DC needs to pull them out but can't. Not without creating a vacuum that Tehran would exploit. So, they say we can let you go with assurances if you give us what we want, which is regime security, lifting of sanctions, and recognition of IRI's regional role."*3
The result of this power struggle was Operation New Dawn, designed among other things to counterbalance Iran's strategic advantage with a sufficiently powerful Iraqi Government. This was translated into 13 billion dollars worth of arms contracts with U.S. companies, including 140 M-1 Abrams battle tanks, 18 F-16 Fighting Falcons as part of a $4.2 billion program that also includes aircraft training and maintenance, AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, laser-guided bombs and reconnaissance equipment .The keen intent on Iraq self-reliance, a term repeated continuously in the political discourse of the time, was part of the U.S. strategy to undermine Iran's power in the region.
Quoted files:
* 1
* 2
* 3
Other files used as source:
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.

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