Kurdish sources report five helicopters carried US forces to pre-dawn raid of Iranian consulate in N. Iraqi town of Irbil. They were dropped on the roof while armored vehicles encircled the building. The troops used loudspeakers to call out in Farsi and Arabic to the consulate staff not to resist “or else they would be killed.” Five Iranian diplomatic staff members were detained and documents and computers impounded. Tehran has strongly protested this breach of its sovereign territory [Kinda sucks when that happens, doesn't it? - aa] and summoned the Swiss ambassador who represents US interests in Iran and the Iraqi ambassador to demand the immediate release of the Iranian diplomats. Later Thursday, Jan. 11, Tehran reported three large explosions shaking the southern town of Khorramshahr north of the oil port of Abadan on the Shatt al-Arb waterway. DEBKAfile: Khorramshahr, which faces the Iraqi town of Basra, is one of the key towns from which Iran delivers smuggled fighters, weapons and explosives to its Shiite supporters in Iraq. Our sources also report that some hours before President George W. Bush’s policy speech, a series of explosions were heard in Iranian Balochistan. Tehran imposed a blackout on the incident. These statements and events tie in closely with the new Iraq strategy announced by the US president of confronting Iran and Syria for “allowing networks to use their territory to attack US forces.”
Regime Change Iran reports that Iran's strategic guru Hassan Abbassi may have been among those arrested:
Iran Press News reported that based on unconfirmed received reports from reliable sources in Iraq, Hassan Abbasi was among those who was arrested in the Thursday, January 11th early-morning raid in the Iraqi town of Erbil. An excerpt:
Abbasi has been among the highest ranking members of the Islamic regime’s terror operations for many years, acting as Khamenei’s foreign policy and defense advisor. Abbasi has had an active voice under not only Khamenei but also Rafsanjani and Khatami as well. The Martyrdom Brigades of the Global Islamic Awakening is controlled by Abbasi.
The full text:
Based on unconfirmed received reports from reliable sources in Iraq, Hassan Abbasi was among those who was arrested in the Thursday, January 11th early-morning raid in the Iraqi town of Erbil.
Hassan Abbasi known by his friends as "The Dr. Kissinger of Islam," is the guru of the Islamic Republic's revolutionary guard corps which puts volunteers and recruits through rigorous training in four camps funded and run by the Revolutionary Guard. The boot camp includes physical training, ideological indoctrination, building explosives, code-cracking classes, and finally foreign languages classes, specifically Arabic and English as well as many other 'useful' languages.
Iran Press News (Farsi).
Stratfor (subscription) believes the recently announced "troop surge" in Iraq caught the IRI by surprise; the regime had been expecting a drawdown after the Democratic victory in November. Today's analysis also notes that regime officials are acutely aware of the "resourceful and treacherous" nature of their American adversary.