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Harry D. In one episode, Tunnell describes how he was shot through the leg during an ambush and how Przybylski and other soldiers responded during the Oct. Home News. But about three weeks ago something went wrong. Aliens or US Marines? Anything more you can tell me about how that meeting went?

I mean, who was there? You were there with Gen. Dave and I were there together with staff, you know, note takers and so forth.

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But it was just really hard for me to figure out how to respond to this. I mean, it was so out of the solar orbit. But again, his mind was made up.


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And Abdullah, in particular, was still so bitter toward us for having carried out the invasion in the first place. Again, Badr was created in Iran and was used by the Iranians to fight the Iraqi army.


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  7. Various Sunni leaders … They were supporting the tribal leaderships … Those were the allegations. But basically, there was not that I could discern, any Saudi strategy for dealing with the new Iraq. They were just going to ignore it. And what was your belief as to how the money was coming from Saudi Arabia to fund insurgents in Iraq?

    My belief was that the … Saudis were not funding Al Qaeda directly, by any means. Did some of their largesse get to Al Qaeda?

    And that is absolutely true. You see the same thing in Oman. The sultan spends three months a year kind of on the road, living in tents with his entourage as he just migrates around meeting with the tribes.

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    Abdullah and Salman, to the extent his health permits, do the same thing. So yeah, that was a very accurate statement King Abdullah made to you. There are more ways than elections to figure out what your population is concerned about. You made the point early on, I think a very good one, that prior to the revolution, Iran and Saudi Arabia were not engaged in a struggle against one another and that the sectarian dimension is overplayed. But by the time we get to , , sectarianism is the order of the day. I would just suggest that, while the idiom was sectarianism, there are deeper issues in play.

    And again, the currency was sectarian conflict and support for sectarian factions. That requires some more explanation from you, if I could, for my audience, in terms of understanding what you mean by that, because for the man on the street, it was a sectarian war. Yeah, indeed. And one of the reasons it was as bloody as it was is because of the dynamics of Iraqi society. There was a huge amount of intermarriage, Sunnis marrying Shia and vice versa. Look, until , , there had not been a major sectarian incident in Iraq since the early 19th century.

    Can they get over that?

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    How was it in the interest of Iran to divide the country along sectarian lines or at least to have intra-Shia — I guess you were talking about conflict, but also to keep the country weak, right? Very much so. Again, the ultimate Iranian policy goal is a permanently divided and weakened Iraq, and this is a good way to do it. You know, confrontations and violence between communities and within at least the Shia community, that works well for Iran. And you talked here with The New York Times.

    Now, that makes an interesting point. So I had worked with the Iranians over Afghanistan, you know, made some not-insignificant progress. You know, I knew the Iraq talks were going to go nowhere. Talking to the Iranian ambassador. Unlike the Afghan process — these were sponsored by the Iraqi government. They limped along and eventually collapsed. But sometimes a failed negotiation can be better than a successful one. That led to his decision to launch the campaign called Charge of the Knights a few months later. You were negotiating with the Iranians, hoping the Iranians would instruct their militias to pull back.

    Yes, and you go through that 10 or 12 times and call it a day. We did notice one thing: that the Iranian ambassador called for a number of breaks in the conversations. He would leave the room. I thought maybe he had a weak bladder. How do I respond? Even after all the videotaped violence, the [Camp] Speicher massacre [in Tikrit], the beheadings of journalists and others, you think that the Iranian-backed militias in Iraq are worse than ISIS?

    ISIS is just about done in Iraq. The Shia militias are ascending. And you could see it back then, that the creation of the PMUs was just, you know, again, part of the Iranian game plan.

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    Well, the militias do. And then we run out of patience. We get tired of the loss of blood and treasure. Time to move on. This was a big mess. Over the years, in the broader Middle East, our allies have come to fear that and our adversaries to count on it. And we are all too consistent in this. Having a set of bad days with the Americans?

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    And we do. Well, when you look at the Middle East in historical terms, you find very few military interventions by anybody that went well. You can ask the Soviets about Afghanistan—.