The Real News: Did Petraeus part with the Neocons?

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Paul Jay, senior news editor for the alternative media startup The Real Network, finds a split between General Petreus and Iran hawks. [The picture is not an embed. It’s a screen capture over a link. Sorry 🙁 ]

General Petreus testifying before congress. The surge worked, but not well enough to withdraw.

GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, MULTINATIONAL FORCE IRAQ COMMANDER: And Iran has fueled the violence, as I noted, in a particularly damaging way through its lethal support to the special groups.

But later describing how the conflagration in Basra was brought to an end:

PETRAEUS: Iran, at the end of the day, clearly played a role as an arbiter, if you will, for talks among all of the different parties to that particular action.

Jay interviews, Sabah al Nasseri is Professor of Political Science (Middle East Politics) at York University, Toronto.

SABEH AL NASSERI, PROF., POLITICAL SCIENCE, YORK UNIVERSITY: I think because there are two interests. One is in the short term. The other one is the long run. In the short term, the United States is interested in securing a security agreement with the Iraqi government, because the Iraqi Parliament decided last year that there will be no extension of the international troops in Iraq beyond December 2008. So since last August, the United States is trying to convince the Iraqi executive to sign a long-term security agreement with the United States to keep the US troops and military bases in Iraq.

JAY: So the very legal basis of the American occupation could be in jeopardy if they’re too aggressive towards Iran.

AL NASSERI: Exactly. On the other hand, the whole report of Petraeus and the Iraq ambassador was in the long run to say we need the US troops, we need the US troop presence in Iraq, we need the military bases in Iraq, because Iran is the most dangerous place now, because they have affiliation to al-Qaeda, they support these so-called special groups, they create a lot of instabilities in Iraq, etcetera.

JAY: There’s certainly no evidence that Iran has any connection with al-Qaeda.

AL NASSERI: Exactly. So in the long run, this is the message of the neocons. Iran is an issue. But now–not now.

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