This just out from Bloomberg
U.S. forces in Iraq raided Iran's consulate in the northern city of Arbil and detained five staff members, a state-run Iranian news service said.
The U.S. soldiers disarmed guards and broke open the consulate's gate before seizing documents and computers during the operation, which took place today at about 5 a.m. local time, the Islamic Republic News Agency said. There was no immediate information on whether any of those detained are diplomats.
The raid follows a warning yesterday to Iran and Syria from President George W. Bush in his address to the American people on a new strategy for Iraq. Bush accused Iran and Syria of aiding the movement of ``terrorists and insurgents'' in and out of Iraq and said the U.S. will ``seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies.''
I trust we can treat it as a given that the timing here is not coincidental. Also, isn't this a little iffy in terms of diplomatic protocol? Breaking into a consulate and seizing documents and computers?
Late Update: TPM Reader RB
chimes in ...
I don't agree with raiding the iranian consulate unless they were actively using as a base rearm fighters. But if there is one thing in the world the Iranians don't have much moral authority on vis a vis the US it is respect for international law in relation to consulary rights and the rights of employees within.
Historical irony abounds.
Doesn't change the larger issue. But, yeah, good point.Later Update
: US forces appear to be disputing
whether the building was really a consulate, in the official diplomatic sense.