Tehran promised to help "If the Iraqi government asks" by not refraining from "any action to establish stability and security in this country." Talabani, an ethnic Kurd, makes no bones that he has come to seek Tehran's help to bring peace to a nation torn apart by sectarian clashes between Sunni and Shia groups on the one hand and al Qaeda terrorists targeting American troops and Government personnel on the other-a situation increasingly viewed as a civil war. As soon as he landed in Tehran he said that "We need Iran's comprehensive help to fight terrorism, restore security and stabilize Iraq."
Talabani also got assurances from Iranian hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to stem the violence in war-torn Iraq. Ahmadinejad said his nation "will help our Iraqi brothers with all that we can to implement and reinforce security in Iraq " but did not say how. Washington and London say that Tehran is sponsoring the violence through its Shiite secessionist forces targeting both American and Sunni targets-which is stoutly denied by Tehran. Scores of civilians of either group are routinely captured, tortured, killed, and the bodies dumped in neighborhoods with a motive to terrorize the other community. Only a year and half ago, US President George Bush had joked that the US forces will leave Iraq "through Iran " as it was only "only a hop, skip, and a jump to the east." There were also reports of US and UK troops exercising in terrain similar to Iran.
In the wake of his trip to Tehhran, the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group has come in for sharp criticism from Talabani. He said that "the Baker-Hamilton report is unfair and unjust" because it recommended US troop withdrawal in early 2008. He also accused the authors of trying to "put foreign officers in every unit" thereby violating " Iraq's sovereignty" and that it comes from "a mentality" that considers Iraq "a colony where they impose their conditions and neglect" its "independence."
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shiite, is facing increasing pressure from all sources to stem the violence. A confidential report from the National Security Adviser's office in the US surmised that al-Maliki has the right intentions but is unaware or unable to control the violence. Bush and al-Maliki had agreed in Jordan that they will speed up the training of the 300,000-strong Iraqi Army so they can assume security command from the US military. Al-Maliki has been complaining that he cannot control violence if he does not have control over the security forces. Since the US is unwilling to grant him that control, they have agreed to speed up training so he will have his own force.