Anyone have any light to shed on the US arrest of Iranian “diplomats” in the Kurdish area of Iraq on Wednesday? Reports are that the US showed up at the “consulate” in the middle of the night with tanks and helicopter gunships, and arrested the six Iranians, who are purported to be diplomats. (Maybe the building really is a consulate and maybe the Iranians really are diplomats, I have no idea.) After the arrest, US wound up in a standoff with Kurdish militiamen when trying to detain more Iranians in a second raid, which ended with the US soldiers being extracted by helicopter (as reported on NPR).

Now Iraq’s foreign minister, a Kurd, says that the Iranians who were captured were in Iraq with the permission of Kurdish authorities.

This bizarre episode leads me to a few questions. The first is, aren’t the Kurds our strongest allies in Iraq? Why are we conducting operations like this without their approval? Secondly, why would the Iranians be targetting US soldiers in the Irbil, the most peaceful area of Iraq? If Iran is working with Iraqis to kill Americans, wouldn’t they be doing so in cooperation with the Shiite militias in southern Iraq, who they have traditionally sponsored? Anyone seen any good answers to these questions? This entire set of incidents leaves me puzzled.