Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Evidence of Iranian Support of Iraqi Insurgency

In light of the fact that US Troops seized high-level Iranian military members in a raid on a site suspected of conducting attacks on Iraqi security forces, I thought it appropriate to research the evidence that exists as to Iranian support of the Iraqi insurgency.

Updated December 29, 2006.

It is interesting that, while recently following a lead to apprehend insurgents who had reportedly been planning and conducting attacks against Iraqi security forces, US military personnel were heard to exclaim (and I paraphrase):

Holy crap! There are a couple of Iranian dudes in here!

The New York Times, reporting on the story, makes the bland accusation in its otherwise impeccably non-partisan reportage of the story that:

American and Iraqi officials have long accused Iran of interfering in this country’s internal affairs, but have rarely produced evidence.

December 29 update: Since the initial arrest, US military leaders say that they have uncovered evidence that 2 high-ranking Iranian military leaders were organizing insurgent attacks against civilians, US forces, and Iraqi forces. Initial statements from Iraq president Jalal Talabani that he had invited them are being disputed, and they "did not appear to have formally registered with the government."

While in Iraq, I was part of briefings wherein we learned that clearly identifiably Iranian arms shipments had on more than one occasion been intercepted at various points in Iraq or along its border. Part of the shipments taken over were technologically improved Improvised Explosive Devices.

A lot of the killing in Iraq appears to be a back and forth of Sunni killing Shia and Shia seeking revenge and killing Sunni, and on and on. But I wonder, how much of the killing on either side is being fomented by Iran, who has a BIG dog in this fight (even moreso today as it has been reported that Iranian oil reserves may be dwindling).

On June 23, General George Casey gave a report of the progress:

Army General George Casey told reporters at the Pentagon June 22 that covert Iranian special forces are adding to the complexity of an unstable security situation in Iraq by providing weapons, roadside bomb technology and training to Shi’ite extremist groups.

Casey returned to Washington from Iraq to brief Defense Department officials and others on Iraq’s progress. Appearing with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the general said Iranian assistance to Iraqi insurgents is “decidedly unhelpful.” He said Iran is using surrogate groups to attack Iraqi, U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq and that some of the surrogates are being trained in Iran, while others are receiving training in Lebanon.

So in an effort to see what's been going on, let's Google the clock all the way back to...November 30, 2006.

U.S. officials say they have found smoking-gun evidence of Iranian support for terrorists in Iraq: brand-new weapons fresh from Iranian factories. According to a senior defense official, coalition forces have recently seized Iranian-made weapons and munitions that bear manufacturing dates in 2006.

In March of 2006, ABC News had a similar story.

U.S. military and intelligence officials tell ABC News that they have caught shipments of deadly new bombs at the Iran-Iraq border.

Another article reports that the US Military seized weapons shipments from Iran in the south of Iraq in summer 2006.

On May 15, 2008, Iraq the Model cites an Associate Press story wherein Iran admits that Iranians were augmenting the Iraqi insurgency. (See link inside blog post.)

WorldNetDaily reports that al Zarqawi and other al Qaeda members have received sanctuary in Iran.

In early 2005, Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem Al-Shaalan accused Iran of supporting the Iraqi insurgency.

See if you've ever heard this one before: an Iranian agent arrested in Iraq for fomenting and financing attacks--sound familiar? But this one happened in January 2005.

And even today, the Saudis grow more and more grim as they contemplate the growing Iranian threat, including their cavorting with members of the Iraqi insurgency.

Yes, there's a little bit of evidence, I guess.


Rich Warnick said...

Why is this a surprise? Ahmed Chalabi maintained an office in Tehran even while he was lobbying Washington to invade Iraq. The Iranians look like the biggest winners so far in this war. That the USA started.

Frank Staheli said...

The main point of the post was to show that some people, at least the New York Times, believe that evidence is flimsy, saying the US has "rarely produced evidence" of Iran's sponsorship of terror in Iraq.

But I agree with you--it's pretty obvious. And if the Iraqi leadership are spitting mad that we arrested some Iranians who happen to be subverting the democratic process, then I'm not sure what we're doing in Iraq.

Rich Warnick said...

I would suggest the evidence against Iran is hard to come by. Iraq continues to be a story of intelligence failure. In fairness, even Iraqis now say it's gotten hard to figure out who's behind all the bombings, mortar attacks, ambushes, and kidnappings.

So, in general, we can say the Iranians are involved-- but the NYT has it right, evidence is scarce. Some of the recently apprehended Iranians were let go due to diplomatic immunity or something.

By the way some commentator on MSNBC today pointed out that Iraq has no democratic process because there is no functioning state with a monopoly on the use of force. Without a state, you can't have democracy.

Frank Staheli said...

You wrote: "Iraq has no democratic process because there is no functioning state with a monopoly on the use of force. Without a state, you can't have democracy."

On this, you and I agree. On the solution to this problem, I'd be curious whether we do, though.

Rich Warnick said...

The various factions of Iraqis are going to do whatever they are going to do, whether the occupation continues or not. There is nothing more the USA can accomplish militarily in Iraq, as Rep. John Murtha pointed out more than a year ago. Any government sponsored by us can't make it for obvious reasons.

Frank Staheli said...


I tend to agree with your statements, especially in light of the controversy inside the Iraqi government surrounding the arrest of the two Iranian military officials.