The $1.1 billion in contracts awarded to Iran and China reported by the press Oct. 16 to build two enormous power plants in Iraq is simply an outward indication of what has been going on internally for several years. Iran has been using free enterprise as a cover for the QUDS Force, the 60,000-strong Mahdi Army led by Moktata al-Sadr, and other pro-Iranian militia.

One of the plants will be built in Sadr City, a Shiite area under the control of al-Sadr; the other will be built free-of-charge by Iran. It will be located between the two southern Shiite cities of Najaf and Karbala.

This is no different from the “bait-and-switch game” Iran has played using humanitarian projects as a cover for terror operations with Hezbollah and Hamas.

Behind every rock in Iraq is an Iranian company. Iran is buying the Iraqi people. They are using free enterprise as the vehicle to export a Persian, Khomeini/Ahmadinejad revolution.

Iran now has the second-largest embassy in Baghdad and consulates in virtually every major city in Iraq. The embassy and consulates are nothing more than war rooms to fund and plan the battles against the Great Satan, America. While in Iraq on a state invitation from President Barzani earlier this year, I was stunned to learn that Iranians are the largest purchasers of property in Iraq and are selling everything from tea, televisions and technology to fund terror.

During a trip to Tehran earlier this year, Prime Minister al-Maliki promoted “economic ties and other ties that contribute to combating terrorism and its challenges.” According to the Iraqi prime minister, Iran and Iraq have “a joint understanding that they are keen to solve the problems and sufferings of the Iraqi people. And they are both convinced that their cooperation may lead to helping Iraq restore stability.” Is this not akin to turning the hen house over to the fox and hoping that the end result will be idyllic peace between the two?

The two countries have enjoyed economic ties in recent years, and in fact, trade between the two former foes reached a level of over a billion dollars annually. Baghdad is seeking even greater economic ties with its most powerful neighbor in the region. According to al-Maliki, he and his Iranian counterparts discussed and signed “a number of cooperation memorandums.” Iran is, in fact, a desired vacation destination for Iraqis looking to escape their own war-torn country. And tourism agreements between the two countries allow Iranians by the hundreds of thousands to travel to Iraq. This provides an open border for terrorists who secrete themselves amongst the pilgrims.

When asked about the newly penned agreement between Iraq, Iran and China, a spokesman for the American military in Iraq was quoted as saying, “We are of course watching Iran’s overall presence here in Iraq. As you know, it’s not always as it appears. Their QUDS Force routinely uses the cover of business to mask their real purpose as an intelligence operative.”

In meeting with Iranian diplomats at the Intercontinental Hotel Sept. 20, 2007, I was astonished to realize that they were, in fact, having diplomatic meetings to discuss economic deals in a Queens mosque near JFK. Al-Maliki and Ahmadinejad were both present at the meetings. The two leaders have four things in common: madrassas, mullahs, mosques and money. It is surprising that the following morning al-Maliki had breakfast with President Bush.

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