Do any of these people know what the hell they're talking about?
First, we heard this:
A top Iraqi official said Sunday there was no "conclusive" evidence that Shiite extremists have been directly supplied with some Iranian arms as alleged by the United States.
Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Iraq does not want trouble with any country, "especially Iran."
Al-Dabbagh was commenting on talks this week in Tehran between an Iraqi delegation and Iranian authorities aimed at halting suspected Iranian aid to some Shiite militias.
Then, we heard this:
Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh called reporters late Sunday night to clarify remarks he made at a news conference earlier in the day, when he appeared to say that there was no hard evidence that Iran was allowing weapons to come into Iraq. Dabbagh said his comments had been misinterpreted.
"There is an interference and evidence that they have interfered in Iraqi affairs," Dabbagh said in an interview arranged by a U.S. official. When asked how he would characterize the proof that Iranian weapons are flowing into Iraq, he said: "It is a concrete evidence."
The U.S. government has long accused Iran of providing the powerful roadside bombs known as explosively formed penetrators to Shiite militiamen who attack American troops. Iran has denied any such role. [these are the copper bowl-shaped devices, which are crude and can be made literally anywhere and not just in Iran]
Dabbagh said that after Maliki launched an offensive last month in the southern city of Basra, weapons were found that were clearly produced in Iran.
"The truth came out; there is evidence of Iranian weapons in Iraq," he said. "Now we need to document who sent them."
Dabbagh said the high-level committee was formed three days ago and includes officials from the Interior and Defense Ministries.
So which is it then? No concrete proof or so much proof as to provoke all-out war between Iraq and Iran? Why does he use the metaphor of "concrete" when everyone knows that cheap concrete poured in Baghdad is likely to be surrounded by backed up sewage pipes, electric outlets that aren't properly grounded, and shattered windows from the latest car bomb?
A hopeful person might wish that the Iraqis are merely inept and not deliberate when they pull things like this. I'm not hopeful when it comes to the Iraqi government--clearly, there is an iron fist that shakes spokesmen and deputies and ministers until they say what someone wants to hear. You cannot accept what is being said anymore. There are no dissident voices. It's like watching a bad cartoon.
How much of that is being driven by the US is anyone's guess.