A few brief points about the recent ascertion that "Iran" is supplying weapons to Shi'a groups in Iraq for use against US servicemen, and why the US is starting to make a big deal about it:
1. Is the "evidence" real?
-- Most likely. In light of the WsMD scandal of faulty intel pre-Iraq, the press has been correct to question the Bush administration's assertions about this. However, it's also in light of the Iraq justification that the Americans are making damn-well sure that they have such a serious accusation is right this time. Or, probably more correctly, they're making damn-well sure that they THINK they have it right. After all, Iran is going to deny it either way, right? Wait, we've been here before...
2. So is this weaponry coming all the way from the Iranian top?
-- Could be, but DeToc guesses it's unlikely. Presidents, Prime Ministers, and Grand Ayatollahs generally like to maintain a degree of plausible deniability between themselves and some of the more nefarious elements of their govenment. Maybe it was done with a wink and a nod and a say-no-more, but such weaponry is just as likely coming from a few Qods Force commanders with solid ties into Iraq Shi'a community. The Iranians probably won't ask too many questions, so everyone goes home happy.
3. Is the US making these charges now as a prelude to an Iran invasion?
-- ARE YOU KIDDING? Conspiracy theorists will all point in this direction, but, frankly, even beginning to contemplate an invasion of Iran is so insane that even Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and a four drugged-up monkeys throwing darts at a world map wouldn't advocate it. Think about it -- an extremely overstretched military fighting two wars, staunch opposition to the war at home, and ongoing diplomatic efforts with Tehran all collectively shout: NO WAY on this one.
4. Is the US doing this to keep Iran on its toes?
-- Ah ha. Here's where DeToc puts his $20. North Korea just eeked out a sweet energy deal when it shut down its nuke program, the Europeans might be going soft in the Iran nuke negotiations, and the US is pretty frustrated in Iraq, so DeToc surmises that this is a case of making relatively sound, if "unprovable", accusations against the Iranians to send a message that a) "we know you're in Iraq," so stop it, and b) you're not getting as cushy a nuclear deal as Pyongyang. Furthermore, it might be an attempt to rally the Euros to take a tougher line at the negotiating table with Tehran later this year.
Stay tuned, 'cause this one's just starting to get fun!