July 23, 2008 in Nation/World

Obama gets warning about Iran

Chicago Tribune

BAGHDAD – A prominent Sunni tribal leader allied to the U.S. military told Sen. Barack Obama on Tuesday that he fears Iran could take over Iraq and plunge the region into fresh turmoil if U.S. troops leave too soon.

Sheik Ahmad Abu Risha, who heads the Sunni Awakening movement, delivered the warning at a meeting with Obama in Anbar province, the epicenter of al-Qaida in Iraq activities until the Sunni tribes switched sides in early 2007.

“Iran is preparing to invade Iraq” as soon as U.S. troops pull out, Abu Risha said in a telephone interview from his home.

“I told Senator Obama personally, right after you leave, Iran will reach the borders of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. We don’t have the power to stop them.”

These were the strongest words of caution Obama heard on his two-day visit to Iraq regarding his troop withdrawal plan.

Abu Risha said he is not averse to pulling out U.S. troops by 2010, as Obama has proposed, but only if the U.S. first supplies Iraq the military might to deter the Iranian threat.

“If the tanks, heavy weaponry, planes and technology of the U.S. Army are given to us, then this time will be enough,” he said.

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