18 Killed in Violence
Kharrazi in Baghdad
Will blog more later on Wednesday.
For now, Iran’s foreign minister, Kamal Kharrazi made a historic visit to Baghdad on Tuesday. He pledged help in controlling the borders between the two countries, and made the point that if Iran were actually supporting insurgent infiltration of Iraq (as Washington has alleged), the situation would be much worse than it is. He pledged Iranian non-interference in Iraq, saying that such interference would be “an insult.”
In fact, Iran is highly influential in Iraq, having hosted for decades the exiled Shiite activists of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq and the Dawa Party, the two major parties that came to power in the January 30 elections. In some ways, Iran has such a direct line to influence in Baghdad that it does not need covert methods. No one doubts, however, that it does maintain covert agents and does use monetary pay-offs to gain influence in the country.
One US serviceman was killed and another wounded by a bomb near Tikrit. Violence killed at least 17 Iraqis on Tuesday. A major firefight broke out in Mosul between guerrillas and US forces. Three clerics, a Shiite and two Sunnis, were assassinated, among others.