Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Petreaus Accuses Iran of Fueling Violence in Iraq

During a hearing at Senate Armed Services Committee today, the commander of US forces in Iran, General David Petreaus, accused Iran of “funding, training, arming and directing” the Shia extremist groups in Iraq. Gen. Petreaus also said that the Iraqi leaders are now recognizing the threat posed by Iran.

The US military had in the past accused Iran of funding, training and arming Shia militias in Iraq. What was new in Peteaus testimony today was the assertion that Iran is also “directing” the so-called special groups’ actions in Iraq.

Any assertion of tactical command role played by Iran in armed clashes, like what happened in Basra last week, could have immense consequences on US relations with Iran. It would renew concern that such assertions could be precursor to a military attack on Iran, even though the mathematics involving the availability of US troops to open a new front against Iran is highly questionable.

Petreaus’s assertion that the Iraqi leaders, notwithstanding their close ties to Iran, are also recognizing the threat posed by Iran was also very significant. This was a hint that Iran could be supporting the Mahdi Army and other Shia extremist special groups at the expense of the Shia-dominated government in Baghdad. If correct, we should expect renewed fighting inside Iraq and the widening of conflict beyond the borders with Iran.


Mark Pyruz said...

"Any assertion of tactical command role played by Iran in armed clashes, like what happened in Basra last week, could have immense consequences on US relations with Iran."-->Nader

I've yet to see a full explanation with evidence supporting the contention that Iranian military figures exercised a tactical form of command-and-control over the recent Basra battlefield. Far more impressive was the role of played by a Pasdaran commander in politically orchestrating a ceasefire.

Joseph Sixpack said...

That's the nature of intelligence. We don't see the raw reports. We see the assessments.

Nader Uskowi said...

Mark, Gen Patreaus has been accusing Iran of directing Shia militia operations in Basra. The assertion was so strong that the Whitehall sounded alarm that the US would declare that Iran is waging war against the US-backed Baghdad government (The Telegraph, 4 April). I don’t have any means of verifying or rejecting comments made by Patreaus. But his testimony posed serious new problems in US-Iran relations.

Mark Pyruz said...

To a certain extent, I would qualify Iran's role in Basra as operational in nature, rather than tactical, given the fact that General Qassem Suleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), personally mediated in the intra-Iraqi Shi'ite negotiations at Qom, Iran.

Joseph Sixpack said...

In going to the negotiating table, it also seems reasonable that he would want good information/intel on what was occurring in Basra. In that regard, he would probably want that intel from his own men who have seen events unfold in Basra.

I don't think the assertion is IRGC units taking a signficant role in fighting. But I do think there is a reasonable suggestion that they are involved tactically and operationally in the form of training, advising (similar to our embedded MiTTs), and providing reliable conduits between JAM and IRGC to coordinate JAM activity with Iranian policy.

Joseph Sixpack said...

Just read this, this morning. Sistani says Sadr should disband his militia. This is unfolding like a movie drama.

Anonymous said...

Mark Pyruz wrote: "I've yet to see a full explanation with evidence supporting the contention that Iranian military figures exercised a tactical form of command-and-control over the recent Basra battlefield."

I agree completely. This has been typical behavior of American government and military officials throughout the Iraq war -- plenty of accusations against Iran but very little tangible or conclusive proof. The sparse evidence that has been occasionally provided has been, in almost every instance, immediately shown to be inconclusive or even highly dubious when examined by people with military arms experience as well as other armaments professionals. The fact that these accusations continue to be levelled against Iran, and American so-called journalists dutifully accept them at face value illustrates the amateurish, show-biz nature of American investigative journalism. It also illustrates the very poor grasp of fundamental military issues and equipment, even by "journalists" who are described with titles such as "Pentagon Correspondent" and "Military" or "Defense Department" bureau chief etc. etc.

Barbara Starr of CNN is possibly the least informed "Defense Department" reporter attached to any news organisation in Washington, just to name one. Even Michael Ware (CNN), Nic Robertson (CNN), Richard Engel (NBC) and Ned Colt (NBC), all posted to Iraq full-time have consistently ignored my eMails asking them to provide PROOF of Iranian weapons supposedly found in Iraq as well as PROOF of Iranian training and funds provided to militia groups. All these reporters regularly parrot the American government and military accusations regarding Iranian armaments being used in Iraq but I have never seen one of them provide a shred of evidence.

Remember this contradiction of American military claims that was only made public thanks to FRENCH reporting:

Iran-Etats-Unis : drôle de guerre en Irak

....C'est là que nous rencontrons le major Scott A. Pettigrew, responsable du renseignement militaire américain pour la province de Diyala. Lui ne croit pas à une connexion entre l'Iran et Al-Qaeda. En fait, il contredit placidement la plupart des accusations qui circulent à Washington contre l'Iran. « Nous n'avons jamais arrêté aucun agent iranien dans cette province et nous n'avons jamais intercepté de flux financier en provenance d'Iran. Je n'ai jamais vu aucune activité ni présence de la Force Al-Qods. Je ne vois rien qui ressemble ici à une guerre par procuration avec l'Iran. »

Roughly translated into English:

Iran-United States : oddity of war in Iraq

....This is where we meet Major Scott A. Pettigrew, man in charge of American military intelligence for Diyala Province. He does not believe in a connection between Iran and Al-Qaeda. Indeed, he calmly contradicts most of the accusations that circulate in Washington that implicate Iran. "We never stopped an Iranian agent in this province and we have never intercepted finances flowing [into Diyala province] from Iran. I never saw activity of or the presence of the Al-Quds force. I see nothing here that resembles a war by proxy with Iran."

Anonymous said...

Military equipment is pretty easy to come by whether it's made in China, Chile or The Czech Republic (or Iran).

Lawmakers Look Into Sale of Military Equipment Online

Grant Gross, IDG News Service
10 April 2008

Government auditors were able to buy military-grade equipment, including night-vision goggles, body armor and parts for fighter jets, from online sites such as eBay and Craigslist during a recently completed undercover investigation, a representative of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) told lawmakers on Thursday.

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee's national security subcommittee expressed particular alarm about the online availability of high-power night-vision goggles, currently used by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and of parts for F-14 fighter jets, flown by the Iranian air force. In many cases, those items are stolen from the U.S. military, the GAO said.

Sales of night-vision goggles and U.S. military uniforms could endanger troops in Iraq, said Representative Christopher Shays, a Connecticut Republican. "We go out at night in Iraq... with special forces," he said. "We go out at night instead of the daytime because we have that advantage. If we lose that advantage, we're going to have many of our soldiers killed."


Winston said...

I am beginning to think that the US attack on Iran is near and hopefully it will lead to the removal of the regime.

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