At his first news conference of 2007, President George W. Bush had strong words for Iran whom he believes there is no doubt that are supplying arms to Iraqi militants. The President claimed that the Iranians are supplying armor piercing weapons that are being used to kill U.S. soldiers in Iraq, but he stopped short of holding the Iranian government responsible.

Bush also said that he would fight any attempt by the Democratic controlled Congress to cut off funding for the war.  “They need to fund our troops and the need to make sure we have the flexibility necessary to get the job done,” he said. It was questions about Iran that dominated the news conference, as more and more people are starting to wonder if the administration is planning further military action in the region. Reporters’ questions were based around conflicting reports about the U.S. intelligence in Iran.

At a weekend briefing in Iraq, three senior military officials said that the highest level of the Iranian government had ordered the weapons smuggled into Iraq, but the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Gen. Peter Pace said that he was not ready to conclude that the Iranian government was behind the attacks.  President Bush said that it is known that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards elite Quds Force was instrumental in supplying the weapons in Iraq. That’s a known,” he said. “What we don’t know is whether or not the head leaders of Iran ordered the Quds Force to do what they did.”

When he was question further on the subject, Bush showed some annoyance and said, “Whether (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad ordered the Quds Force to do this, I don’t think we know. But we do know that they’re there and I intend to do something about it. And I’ve asked our commanders to do something about it. And we’re going to protect our troops.” What exactly the administration can do about it remains questionable at best.

The military, by their own admission, is stretched thin. There seems to be very little that the White House can do to stop Iran’s activities. The administration would like to keep the issues of Iran’s nuclear program and their activities in Iraq separate, but I don’t think that will be possible.The nightmare scenario for the U.S. is one where Iran escalates the fighting in Iraq in order to establish their domination of the region. It was their own lack of planning and ineptitude that painted the administration into this corner, and it looks like nothing short of a full scale war will get them out.

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