Iran blander seg stadig mer direkte inn i maktkampen i Irak.

Den høyt respekterte britiske rofessoren Michael Clark sa denne uken at det allerede foregår en de facto borgerkrig i Irak. Irans innblanding på Moqtadahas side representerer en farlig eskalering.

30 iranere ble tatt til fange i byen Kut onsdag. Allawis regjering forsøker å finne ut hvem som sendte dem.

«We are checking their identities but if they are found to have links to the Iranians then that would be tantamount to a declaration of war by them,» said a senior Iraqi source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

To lastebiler fulle med våpen ble stanset på grensen til Iran onsdag kveld. En seniorrådgiver i innenriksdepartementet sier det stanses biler med våpen stadig, men at det er umulig å si hvem som står bak.

Foreign diplomatic observers in Baghdad have been alarmed by the «stoking up of tension» between the two neighbours. One senior diplomat said the Iranians were pursuing their activities in Iraq «more aggressively than three months ago, and they were hardly passive then».

En irakisk diplomat sier motstanden fra nabolandene har vært en stor overraskelse. De prøver å sabotere at det oppstår et demokratisk Irak:

But one Iraqi diplomat, a former member of the Iraqi opposition who took part in the postwar planning, said: «You know we didn’t misread the reaction of the Shia in postwar Iraq, as many analysts have suggested; our big failing was to misread the reaction from our neighbours. They really don’t want to give us a chance.»

Men hva vil konsekvensene bli hvis the insurgents skulle få overtaket? Det later ikke til at hverken Iran eller Syria, eller Saudi-Arabia bekymrer seg for det.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Rift grows as Iranians caught fighting for Sadr