Iraqi Officials Questioned About Iranian Overflights
By: John Hampton
Not long after the 10 year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Secretary of State John Kerry was in Baghdad. While there, he met with Iraqi officials including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The focus of this impromptu meeting was to discuss Iranian use of Iraqi air space. Officials from the U.S. State Department assert that Iraq is allowing Iran to use its airspace for the purpose of delivering military hardware and supplies to the Bashar Assad led Syrian government. See area map. Both Iraq and Iran insist that the flights are carrying only humanitarian supplies for the beleaguered Syrian nation.
Transit of Iraqi airspace by Iran began in March of 2012. At one point, the flights were stopped, but began again in July. Short of a complete ban on the Iranian flights, Washington would like to see the aircraft land in Iraq for the purpose of verifying their contents. Iraq did promise former Secretary of State Clinton that inspections would be performed, but since that time, only two aircraft have actually been checked.
Iran is also shipping material and supplies to Syria by truck, via Iraq. A U.S. official traveling with Kerry related that the frequency and volume of overflights, along with the land shipments, was inconsistent with claims that only humanitarian supplies were being moved. In a statement Kerry said “Anything that supports President Assad is problematic. And I made it very clear to the prime minister that the overflights from Iran are, in fact, helping to sustain President Assad and his regime.”
We can debate the wisdom of invading Iraq, but there is no doubt that the U.S. Military provided the Iraqi people with a chance at freedom and independence. And now the current government of that country is returning the favor by facilitating Iranian support of Syria.
Iraq is certainly not the first country to repay massive amounts of American blood and/or treasure with a prominent middle finger gesture. Remember the extreme rhetoric of Afghan president Karzai, and the refuge afforded Osama bin Laden by Pakistan?
And according to politico.com, last week Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) asked President Obama in a letter to step up U.S. Military efforts in the region, including destroying Assad’s aircraft using precision airstrikes. No rational person wants to see a continuation of the Syrian civil war. The concomitant violence has killed thousands of innocent people. But have Senators Levin and McCain already forgotten about the recently enacted Sequester? How can we expand the role of our Military while simultaneously cutting its budget?
Our putative allies continue to betray us. Our standing on the world stage is waning. Our politicians want their pie a la mode and eat it too! All this havoc adds to the ever growing penumbra of confusion, chaos and frustration under which the American people must live. I pray that a modicum of sanity and reason will soon emerge amongst those that govern us. If not, our great Country will continue to lose power, influence and respect. What will become of We The People?
John Hampton lives in Tehachapi CA and is quite concerned about the policies and motives of the current Administration. He believes in a system that holds our freedoms sacred, promotes personal responsibility, prudence and high moral standards.