May 30, 2010

Afghan Mission Threatened by Iran, Civilian Casualties

Is he really living in another world or just performing? There’s not much to say about General Stanley McChrystal’s statement that Iran is training a low level of Taliban.

"The training that we have seen occurs inside Iran with fighters moving inside Iran," he told a news conference in response to a question on Iran's influence. "The weapons that we have received come from Iran into Afghanistan."

That Iran would supply the Taliban isn’t surprising. Shia and Sunni cross paths frequently when engaging America militarily. While Iran doesn’t like a long-term US presence in the region, it has every motivation to keep President Barack Obama tied up until its nuclear program (and possibly a weapon) is complete.

Of course Iran will play both the Northern Alliance and the Taliban. The better question is why America believes it can wage a counterinsurgency around the world in a state surrounded by hostile or ambiguous states. This is considered COIN suicide.

But McChrystal, after praising Tehran’s general assistance, terms its behavior “inappropriate” and kicks off the real fun. With US Special Forces - formerly under McChyrstal’s command and still under command in Afghanistan - crawling into Iran to re-con targets, the idea that America’s behavior is appropriate and Iran’s isn’t leads to blissful hypocrisy.

McChrystal knows what’s happening though, he’s just acting. This is geopolitics at the highest level, like Iran. Someone had to clean up that “bleeding ulcer” that’s got stuck in the US media cycle for a week, but he may have created a new disaster.

After targeting Iran, McChrystal instantly affixed the bulls eye back on America. President Barack Obama will have a hard time getting this new one off.

“Because of CivCas [civilian casualties], I think we have just about eroded our credibility here in Afghanistan,” Gen. McChrystal told commanders during a recent power point briefing, according to Army Times. “The constant repeat of CivCas is now so dangerous that it threatens the mission.”

US SOF embedded in Iran and Quds agents infiltrating Taliban mountains amid ceaseless civilian casualties and a “threatened mission” - the future is full of disturbances.

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