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Iran Sent Agents to Iraq to Push Shi`a Regime.

Posted April. 24, 2003 22:05,   


The United States showed strong opposition to Iran, a country with a predominant Shi`a Muslim population, for its sending of suspected agents to Iraq to promote its style of government in its newly formed western neighbor.

“Iran sent information agents to agitate the Shi`a population in Iraq. We have made it clear to Iran that we oppose any outside interference in Iraq,” said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer on Wednesday.

Quite a number of Iran`s Revolutionary Guards have infiltrated into northern Iraq to influence Shi`as, who make up 60% of the total population in Iraq, and maneuver in establishing a Shi`a government behind the scenes, reported The New York Times.

Iran`s Revolutionary Guards along with the Badr Brigade, part of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution (SCIRI) in Iraq have infiltrated large numbers of groups heading toward the holy city of Karbala as part of the ongoing pilgrimage, the paper added based on intelligence sources gathered by U.S. officials.

SCIRI, an Iranian-based Shi`a organization whose leader, Abdelaziz al-Hakim of the Badr Brigade, along with a significant number of Iraqi leaders has returned to Iraq. They are currently expanding their influence in the region. Shi`as, who are supported by SCIRI oppose establishment of a pro-U.S. government, have organized local councils as interim administration offices in Karbala and other southern regions as well as sent militia to guard major facilities.

Iran is governed by anti-American Muslim fundamentalists but because it is surrounded by pro-American Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, it might be seriously isolated diplomatically if a pro-U.S. government is established in Iraq. Moreover, Iran prefers Iraq to have a Shi`a government on religions grounds as eight Shi`a holy places out of twelve are located in Iraq.

However, Sunni Moslem governments such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Yemen are worried about the establishment of a Shi`a government in Iraq as it might agitate their own Shi`a minorities.

The U.S. is carefully monitoring Iran as the establishment of a Shi`a government would oppose the American plan of gaining pro-U.S. sentiment in the whole of the Middle East.

Ki-Tae Kwon kkt@donga.com