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MIDDLE EAST: Another Iran faux pas?

Sen. Joe Lieberman was trying to portray presidential contender Barack Obama as a no-nothing on Iraq. But he may have stumbled himself, inventing a whole new militant group supposedly destabilizing Iraq.

In a Fox News interview Wednesday, the Connecticut lawmaker and backer of Republican presidential nominee John McCain said that if the U.S. heeded Obama's advice,  a group called "Al Qaeda in Iran" would have taken over Iraq.

Here's what Lieberman said:

Sen. Obama doesn't come to this debate with a lot of credibility. Basically on the question of Iraq, John McCain has had the guts to stand out on his own arguing for what he thought was right. And it turned out that he was right about the surge working to improve conditions in Iraq. If we did what Sen. Obama wanted us to do last year, Al-Qaeda in Iran [NOTE: SEE UPDATE BELOW] would be in control of Iraq today. The whole Middle East would be in turmoil and American security and credibility would be jeopardized.

There's no such thing as Al Qaeda in Iran, though Al Qaeda of Iraq has given U.S. and Iraqi forces plenty of trouble.

In fact, Shiite Iran and Sunni Al Qaeda are  bitter enemies, though they may have had some dealings in the past. Al Qaeda's number two vehemently denounced Iran in an online interview that was released in recent days.

Ironically Lieberman himself corrected Sen. John McCain who alleged during a visit to Jordan last month that Al Qaeda was being trained in Iran.

There's also very little chance that Iraq, which is 60% Shiite and 20% Kurdish, would allow Al Qaeda of Iran, Iraq or Mars to take over their country. Maybe they'd be a continued menace or nuisance, but there was little chance even a weak Iraqi government would have allowed Al Qaeda to dominate Iraq as the Taliban did when the Soviet Union left Afghanistan. The numbers just don't work.

As blogger Steve Benen puts it in Carpetbagger Report:

Either Lieberman was creating a new terrorist group that doesn’t exist, or he doesn’t understand the basics of what’s going [on] in Iraq after more than five years of war.

Borzou Daragahi in Beirut

Video: Joe Lieberman criticizes Barack Obama's foreign policy on Fox News.

UPDATE: A representative from Lieberman's office sends the following note:

Your posting on the LA Times site is incorrect. If you listen to the Fox recording of Senator Lieberman, you will find that he clearly said "If we did what Sen. Obama wanted us to do last year, Al-Qaeda AND Iran would be in control of Iraq today." The Fox transcript has been corrected, as I hope you will now correct your posting.

Comments () | Archives (11)

Lieberman is a prominent member of AIPAC whose goal is only the security and hegemeny of Israel, not U.S.! This is why after losing the election as a democrat he was put in office by AIPAC as an independent to continue the war in the middle east! Fox (Murdock) is an israeli- australian who is also an AIPAC co-leader! They twist all the stories just to confront Iran! They are foregin agents dressped up as Americans who act against the American interests! All the wars in middle east including the perisn gulf and iraq wars have been for israel by AIPAC and israel! Wake up and put them all in jail for treason along Pollard!

"My well-intentioned advice to Mr. Daraqahi - when relying on lefty blogs for factual content, mistrust but verify."


Personally, I would prefer a strong leader who 'misspeaks' on occasion than one whose radical America-hating 'uncle' speaks loud and clear for all to hear, or Ms. Clinton, whose 'misspeaks' are less slips of the tongue than Walter Mitty-like delusions of grandeur.

I'm struck by the first sentence of your post, which says Lieberman is trying to portray Obama as "a no-nothing on Iraq". The term you seem to want is "know-nothing". It derives originally from the politics of the pre-Civil-War era, and it doesn't refer to people who intend to do nothing or to people who actually know nothing, but to people who themselves sarcastically feign ignorance as a way of avoiding questions about their political allegiances.

This may sound pedantic, but your use of "no-knothing" is inscrutable by itself, and in the light of historical and etymological context, it sounds plainly ignorant.

Tom Maguire you really buy into Faux Noise correctly editing a transcript? I saw the video and he said quite plainly "Al Qaeda in Iran would be in control of Iraq today"

Are you kidding?

This is no faux pas. When Lieberman corrects McCain about Al Qaeda in Iran to turn around and say the same thing a week later seems to me to be a test to make sure that the American public is awake.

Bush the second and his boy toy Lieberman are just pushing their agenda to go after Iran as well.

Fox News has corrected the transcript, although anyone actually listening to the tape would have heard it correctly - Lieberman spoke of "Al Qaeda *and* Iran", not "Al Qaeda in Iran".

A paragraph later, he adds:

"LIEBERMAN: Well, just ridiculous. I mean John McCain knows that the Iranians are supporting Shia extremists, and that's different from Al- Qaeda. He misspoke. Every one of the other candidates for president at one time or another has misspoken. I have, too.

When I heard him do that, I leaned forward and I said, "I know what you meant to say, but here's what you said." But you know, what is really important about that exchange, if I may quote from the Bible, that wonderful challenge, "How is it that you can see the speck in your brother's eye but you don't see the log in your own?"

They made a big deal out of John McCain misspeaking. But what senator McCain was saying is Iran is training Iraqis who are killing American soldiers and that's what we should be angry about."

Fox new is wrong again. Fox reporters need to get some education about the Middle East. It is not OK to be ignorant about a region and report on it. In addition to being wrong
continuously you are destroying the reputation of the United States in the world. Why don't you all stop your so called reporting, warmongering and hate programs.



Don't forget it was McCain, Lieberman, Rumsfeld bunch that gave the gas to Saddam to use on the Kurds.

from swimming freestyle:

"The U.S., up to this point, has viewed Iraq through a prism of it's own objectives, ignoring an Iraqi perspective: When will our involvement end? How do we define "victory"? It would not be in U.S. strategic interests to set withdrawal dates. Should we have a long term presence in Iraq? How do we stem Iranian influence in Iraq?

Following next week's march, the Bush Administration could find itself caught between it's own high minded proclamations about the Iraqi people's quest for democracy and an unmistakable expression of Iraqi democracy: an Iraqi call for U.S. forces to get out of Iraq."

Lieberman has no shame left. He prances about like a woman past her physical prime, one lacking in other charms, attempting to catch a ride on any gallant stead that would take her higher than her present station in life. Alas, Mc-Cain's decrepit and senile back may not prove conducive to lieberman's desires.
Obama/Richardson versus Mc-Cain/Lieberman; seems less of a choice and more of a DUI test.

It sure seems like this editor would have enjoyed watching the Kurds gassed in Iraq.....while holding their children.

Look for something else to pick at.


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