IRANIANS MOVING IN?

WaTi reports than an unspecified number of Iranians have moved in to shape Iraq :

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday that Iran has dispatched “organized elements” to Iraq in a bid to influence the creation of an Islamist system. “There’s no question but that the government of Iran has encouraged people to go into the country, and that they have people in the country attempting to influence the country,” Mr. Rumsfeld told reporters at the Pentagon.

This certainly bears watching, although US officials seem not overly concerned. In a related story,

The Bush administration yesterday ruled out an Iranian-style theocracy in Iraq, dominated by Shi’ite Muslim clerics, while leaving the door open to an Islamic government, provided it is democratic.
Administration officials said the United States does not have a concrete formula for the new Iraqi government, although it wants one that is multiethnic, maintains the country’s territorial integrity, has no weapons of mass destruction and is at peace with its neighbors.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld flatly rejected Iran’s system of Shi’ite clerical rule for Iraq.
“This much is certain,” Mr. Rumsfeld told reporters at the Pentagon. “A vocal minority clamoring to transform Iraq in Iran’s image will not be permitted to do so. We will not allow the Iraqi people’s democratic transition to be hijacked by those who might wish to install another form of dictatorship.”

While I agree that we can not permit that outcome, it is a risk one runs when trying to install democracy atop a primitive culture. The country is majority Shi’ite and there appears to be a large contingent of nutcases as evidenced by the recent self-flaggelation outbreaks. We’re not going to be able to instill Jeffersonian ideals in three months.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.