Evidence of Iran's War Against Coalition Forces in Iraq Unveiled (updated Feb. 12)
By Andrew Cochran
For some time, there have been claims of Iran's direct involvement in attacks against Iraqi and U.S. troops, but without the presentation of sufficient actual evidence to persuade Congress or the American public at large. Congress - Members of both parties and key staff - have been very reluctant to trust any such claims ever since the Iraqi WMD intelligence debacle.
That might change after today, when U.S. officials on the ground in Iraq - not just at the CIA or the Pentagon in Washington - revealed reliable evidence of Iran's direct involvement, from the highest levels in the government, in the attacks. "(O)ne of six Iranians detained in January in a raid on an office in the northern city of Irbil was the operational commander of the Quds Brigade, a unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards that trains and equips Shiite militants abroad. He was identified as Mohsin Chizari, who was apprehended after slipping back into Iraq after a 10-month absence, the officer said. The Iranians were caught trying to flush documents down the toilet, he said. Bags of their hair were found during the raid, indicating they had tried to change their appearance, he added. He said the dates of manufacture on weapons found so far indicate they were made after fall of Saddam Hussein -- mostly in 2006. He said the "machining" on the components was traceable to Iran but did not elaborate."
For the first time, American officials were able to quantify the casualties resulting from Iranian-made armaments: "Sophisticated Iranian-built bombs smuggled into Iraq have killed at least 170 US and allied soldiers since June 2004 and wounded 620 more, senior US defence officials have said. Iran is involved in supplying explosively formed projectiles or EFPs and other material to Iraqi extremist groups." And the briefing included a description of the route used by Iranian agents to smuggle the weapons into Iraq: "The U.S. officer said Iran was working through 'multiple surrogates' -- mainly 'rogue elements' of the Shiite Mahdi Army -- to smuggle the EFPs into Iraq. He said most of the components are entering Iraq near Amarah, the Iranian border city of Meran, and the Basra area of southern Iraq."
We need public hearings in Congress to examine these findings, show the American people this evidence, and question the troops and officials involved in this disclosure to ensure that the evidence presented today is irrefutable.
UPDATE, Feb. 12: Sources tell me that the initial reaction by leading Congressional Democrats lies somewhere between "skeptical" to "they're lying to us like they did on Iraq." See this BBC story with quotes.
Pictures of impact of Iranian-supplied armaments (ABC News & AFP/U.S. Military)