The big news today - although not to regular members of Joshua's Army - is that a senior US military official is finally acknowledging that Iran was behind the kidnapping and execution style murder of five US soldiers in Karbala,Iraq back in January.
U.S. military spokesman Brig. General Kevin J. Bergner claims to have evidence that the Iranian Quds force was behind this, and also said that Iran has been using Hezbollah as a go-between to help arm and train the Shiite militias in Iraq. "Our intelligence reveals that senior leadership in Iran is aware of this activity" he said.
Apparently,the break in the case came when Hezbollah operative Ali Mussa Dakdouk, was captured March 20 in southern Iraq. Apparently Dakdouk has sung several arias since he's been in custody.
Bergner said Dakdouk served for 24 years in Hezbollah and was "working in Iraq as a surrogate for the Iranian Quds force." The general also said that Dakdouk was a liaison between the Iranians and a Shiite militia led by Qais al-Kazaali, a former associate of Muqtada al-Sadr. Bergner said al-Kazaali's group carried out the January attack against a provincial government building in Karbala and that the Iranians assisted directly in preparations.
Now personally, I'm curious about exactly what that means.
Don't get me wrong - Iran's greasy fingerprints were on this from day one and they have never made any pretense about being at war with the great Satan since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
But let's recall the details of what happened in Karbala:
The 5 US soldiers were there to have a meeting with Iraqi soldiers in a top security headquarters discussing safety for pilgrims participating in an annual religious ceremony in Karbala.
Somehow, the jihadis got past all the security checkpoints without showing any papers, and were dressed in American uniforms and carrying American weapons. They went directly to where the meeting was being held.
In other words, they knew exactly where the Americans were, when they would be there, and had the means to get to them easily.
One soldier was killed and three were wounded by a hand grenade thrown into the main office, which includes the headquarters of the provincial police chief.
None of the Iraqis at the meeting was touched or even wounded, according to the Iraqi's own military.
Once they had the captives in hand the jihadis were able to take the the captured soldiers from Karbala dozens of miles to Babil province, confidently driving through all the checkpoints.
Just as if it was all previously arranged, hmmmmm?
Our troops ended up being murdered execution-style:
"Two soldiers were found handcuffed together in the back of one of the SUVs," the U.S. military statement said. "Both had suffered gunshot wounds and were dead. A third soldier was found shot and dead on the ground. Nearby, the fourth soldier was still alive, despite a gunshot wound to the head." That one died en route to the hospital.
Now, what I'd like to know is who was with Iran on this thing? Who sold our guys out? Was it the Iraqis they were embedded with? If the Iranians, or their Shiite proxies were able to pull something like this off, the rot likely goes pretty deep.
Speaking of rot, our warriors completed a major incursion into Sadr City in Baghdad, Saturday June 30th, searching for some of Iran's proxy killers. They ended up killing 26 jihadis belonging to Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army and provoking angry squawks of protest form Iraqi PM al-Miliki, in spite of his agreement with President Bush that no area of Baghdad was off limits to US troops.
"The Iraqi government totally rejects U.S. military operations ... conducted without prior approval from the Iraqi military command," al-Maliki said in a statement concerning the Sadr City raid. "Anyone who breaches the military command orders will face investigation."
There were also the usual complaints about civilian deaths...but for once, the US military wasn't simply taking these allegations in stride, and an American military spokesman insisted all of those killed were combatants.
"Everyone who got shot was shooting at U.S. troops at the time," said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver. "It was an intense firefight."
U.S. troops also arrested 17 men in Sadr City suspected of helping Iranian terror networks in Iraq.
This is interesting in view of the tacit agreement US forces had with the Mahdi Army to allow them to handle security in certain areas of Baghdad while we concentrated on al-Qaeda in other areas.
The conclusion I draw from this is that the Mahdi Army and Al-Sadr used that leeway to aid their Iranian masters - which is probably why we sent our troops into Sadr City to begin with - and, with Iraqi parliamentary elections coming up shortly, General Petraeus and the US may want to target al-Sadr to a degree to lessen the Mahdi Army's intimidation factor and encourage the Sunnis to take a bigger part in the next election. They mostly boycotted the last one, in 2005.
WILD CARD - Turkey. Islamist foreign minister Gul is on record as saying that he will expand the Turkish incursion into Kurdistan if his AK party wins a majority in the July 22nd elections and he becomes president.
As for Iran - OK, they're at war with us, whether we want to acknowledge it of not, and racing as fast as they can towards acquiring nuclear weapons.
So the big question is..what are we prepared to do about it?
Stay tuned...it looks like a pretty wild summer so far.