A Deadly U.S.-Iran Firefight

TIME reveals now that US and Iranian troops fought a deadly battle at the Iraq-Iran border on September 7, 2006. The Pentagon admitted that a "firefight" happened, but said it did not have any details, which would have to be obtained by the US military in Baghdad. US soldiers who had participated in the battle agreed to confirm if they could remain nameless because the US troops killed at least one Iranian soldier.  So, why is the US military now permitting TIME to interview US soldiers who participated in this battle? And, why is the deadly outcome being revealed 6 months later when "everyone seems to sense the possible consequences of revealing that a clash between U.S. and Iranian forces had turned deadly?"

When this battle happened, an Army press release (pdf file) stated that US and Iraqi forces were conducting a routine joint patrol along the Iranian border when they spotted 2 Iranian soldiers retreating from Iraq into Iran:

"A moment later, U.S. and Iraqi forces came upon a third Iranian soldier on the Iraqi side of the border, who stood his ground. As U.S. and Iraqi soldiers approached the Iranian officer and began speaking with him, a platoon of Iranian soldiers appeared and moved to surround the coalition patrol, taking up positions on high ground. At that point, according to the Army's statement, the Iranian captain told the U.S. and Iraqi soldiers that if they tried to leave they would be fired on. Fearing abduction by the Iranians, U.S. troops moved to go anyway, and fighting broke out. Army officials say the Iranian troops fired first with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades, and that U.S. troops fell further back into Iraqi territory, while four Iraqi army soldiers, one interpreter and one Iraqi border guard remained in the hands of the Iranians.

The official release says there were no casualties among the Americans, and makes no mention of any on the Iranian side."

At the time of this battle, the US military excused the Iranian entry into Iraq because "border confusions and disputes happen routinely" so the Iranians may have believed that they were in Iranian territory. And the confusion affects both sides. In 2004, Iran seized 8 British Navy and Marine personnel after they strayed across the disputed border between Iraq and Iran. However, after parading them on TV, the men were released.

Now, 6 months later it is disclosed that US forces had killed at least one Iranian soldier because Bush is itching to get on with his war. After all, the British were not very cooperative 2 years earlier when they refused a US military order to battle Iranian forces at the border.  

In 2004, the US ordered the British to send several thousand troops to attack the Iranian Revolutionary Guard positions at the Iran-Iraq border, but the British refused.  The US military commander ordered British troops to conduct a "full-scale ground offensive against Iranian forces that had crossed the border and grabbed disputed territory." While such an attack "almost certainly would have provoked open conflict with Iran," the British opted to resolve the matter through diplomatic channels. Bush must have been so disappointed that the British refused to resolve a common border confusion with tanks and bombs.

Now, Iran is resigned to the "belief that a war with the U.S. is all but inevitable."  Sadly, that seems to be the case. Today, the US is doing all it can to ensure open warfare.

While Iran recently seized British sailors, the US also grabbed hostages when it arrested 5 Iranian diplomats last Jan. 11. The BBC News is reporting in tomorrow's edition that the US has rejected any suggestion that a deal could be made to exchange the 15 British sailors and marines for the 5 Iranians seized by US forces in Iraq.

Bush does not want to take any action that may lessen the hostilities between the 2 countries when he is all prepared for officially declaring war against Iran.  It was reported today that Russian intelligence is claiming that the US military has "nearly completed preparations for a possible military operation against Iran, and will be ready to strike in early April."

Indeed, the "source said the U.S. had already compiled a list of possible targets on Iranian territory and practiced the operation during recent exercises in the Persian Gulf."  

This is consistent with reports that the US  has launched its largest show of military force in the Persian Gulf since the invasion of Iraq with 2 aircraft carriers backed by 100 warplanes flying simulated attack missions off the coast of Iran. The Navy says the mission was not a response to Iran's capture of British sailors and is not "meant to threaten" Iran, whose navy operates in the same waters.

It seems that now the British are willing to work with the US to try to trigger armed confrontations with Iran that may be used as a pretext to escalate the ongoing battles into a full-fledged war. On March 29th, Britain denied Iran's claims that British troops had surrounded the Iranian consulate  in Basra and fired shots into the air. The British government says that the "shooting was an exchange of gunfire after British troops on a foot patrol near the Iranian consulate were ambushed" and the troops simply returned fire. An Iraqi news agency reported witness accounts that the British forces had surrounded the consulate for 1 hour.

A spokeswoman for coalition forces responded that the soldiers had a shootout with their attackers and then "launched a security crackdown in the area to search for the gunmen," adding that the Iranian consulate was "not the aim of the operation."

So, the ongoing battles escalate in both frequency and armed conflict which will eventually trigger all-out war that will brings lots of money to Bush's corporate buddies. After all, US crude oil futures spiked a few days ago in electronic trading after rumors Iran fired on US Navy warships, and then fell after the Navy denied the story. Imagine how much coin will fill corporate oil pockets when next time the US issues confirmation.


"Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz will sail April 2 to support U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Navy said, amid a spike in tensions over Iran's seizure of 15 British marines and sailors."

The US Navy says the Nimitz and its battle group of destroyers and guided-missile cruisers will relieve the Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier which this week participated in war games or "show of force" exercises in the Gulf with the John C. Stennis carrier. The Navy further stated that the number of US carriers in the region would remain at two: "The two-carrier deployment in the Gulf was the highest level of U.S. naval presence in the gulf since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003."

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