We are closing in on 30 years since the Islamic Republic of Iran invaded the United States of America in the opening skirmish of a war that continues today. Matt notes Bill Roggio's excellent reporting and analysis on their recent act of war in Kerbala and I am hard-pressed to find anything to disagree with.
The Embassy invasion and seizing of hostages was a direct act by Iran against us, but mostly they have relied on their many proxies to act against us. This has been changing recently as evidenced by their actions against Israel as their proxy Hizbollah attacked Israel and Iran had some of their Spec Ops troops on the ground in Lebanon. It is highly likely that an Iranian team operated the missile that sunk the Israeli boat and they were operating in many locations with Nasrallah's killers. Much of the planning and most of the equipment Hizbollah employed was Iranian supplied and it showed in the placement of all the military weaponry installed in civilian buildings ensuring that outrage would ensue once Israel joined battle. Predictably the world community was outraged just not at the Iranians or Hizbollah and the UN clamped down on this blatant act of aggression, well no. Actually when UN troops got around to doing anything it was for the French to threaten to shoot at Israeli planes that were overflying as the Iranians resupplied Hizbollah with plenty more rockets to launch at civilians.
The one positive was the reaction of many Gulf States to the Iranian/Syrian proxy war. They seemed to see this as a Shiite push to dominate the region and consequently were somewhat OK with Israel laying some pain on them. Sadly Israel responded with what may be their weakest military effort ever. They did destroy a bunch of rockets and other gear, and they killed a bunch of bad guys. But they captured or killed no leaders of Hizbollah and did not manage to gain any type of military or political victory.
The recent operation in Kerbala had all the trappings of a Spec Ops raid. There were special vehicles doctored to resemble those used by US troops, uniforms, identification, and radios. They acted swiftly and decisively in a well-rehearsed operation and escaped with 4 US prisoners and no casualties themselves. They later executed the prisoners and likely exfilled back to Iran to tell the tale to Ahmadinejad.
There have been no operations anywhere in the same ballpark with this one in our entire time in Iraq. The Sunni insurgents are mostly Baathist party members and most of those with real military skills have already tried them and failed against our forces. Their tactics have not increased in complexity or difficulty, they have increased in ruthlessness since they could do no real damage. The only real upgrade to their tactics is due to better bomb-making gear supplied by the Iranians to both Sunni and Shia.
The Shiite death squads have minimal military ability and are basically pickup loads full of clowns waving AKs. Al Qaeda in Iraq has always been just a facilitator for suicide bombers and has never shown the stones to fight openly.
None of these collections of bloodthirsty savages have shown the ability to do much more than push a detonator button, and it is almost certain none of them did this. The location of the target, the sophistication of the operation, the lack of beheading, all point to a precision raid by highly-trained regular military forces. Iran did this.
We can discuss why tomorrow.