U.S. Shoots Down Iranian Drone over Iraq
Early overtures by the Obama administration to reach out to the Iranian mullahs via President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are likely to have met their end Monday when it became public that the U.S. shot down an Iranian drone hovering over Iraq -- 60 miles north of Baghdad. The shoot-down occurred last month and was first reported by Wired's Danger Room blog last week, but wasn't confirmed by a spokesman for the multinational forces in Iraq until Monday.
The suggestion from Iran that the event was "an accident" was immediately put to rest. "This was not an accident on the part of the Iranians," the military spokesman said, adding, "The [Iranians'] unmanned aerial vehicle was in Iraqi airspace for nearly one hour and 10 minutes and well inside Iraqi territory before" an American fighter jet shot it down.
Iran and Iraq -- brutal enemies for decades -- are on the same page about the incident. Major General Abdul Aziz Mohammed Jassim, head of military operations at the Iraqi Defense Ministry, told Reuters: "This drone entered Iraq mistakenly at a point 100 km (60 miles) from Baghdad. It crossed 10 km (6 miles) into Iraq. It's most likely that its entrance (into Iraq) was a mistake."
Iraq's Shi'ite Muslim Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and Iran's Shi'ite Muslim President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are becoming fast friends, leaving President Obama and his administration out in the cold -- most likely forced to pick up the pieces of the downed drone under a hail of predictable criticism. This is because the press loves to vilify drones, turning America's single most effective weapon in the war on terror into an evil, overflying nemesis of the Pakistani people. That the drone is the killer of local hearts and minds. That U.S. drones (also known as UAVs, or unmanned aerial vehicles) are the reason for today's Pakistani backlash against American military presence in the region.