Iran helping to target Iraqi pilots


Iran is backing a Shia insurgent campaign of systematically assassinating former elite Iraqi air force pilots as part of a covert sectarian war against Sunnis, according to senior politicians in Baghdad.

The spate of murders of pilots has prompted an intervention from Jalal Talabani, Iraq's president, who has offered them safe haven in his native Kurdistan even though some of them were involved in dropping chemical weapons there.


The organised manner in which the murders have been carried out, each with multiple shots fired from an AK47, has fuelled suspicions that elements within Iraq's Iranian-linked government are behind them.

"Many of my father's friends have already left Iraq for Jordan because they received written death threats warning them to leave," said Mr Fares' son, Wisam, 21.

Victim's families suspect their names and addresses have been taken from old records at Iraq's ministry of defence. They claim that the killings are the work of the Badr Brigade, the armed wing of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, one of the two main Shi-ite parties that dominate Iraq's new government. Although the brigade has officially disarmed, it has recently been blamed for the killing of scores of Sunni clerics in revenge for massacres of Shias carried out by Sunni-backed insurgents.

In another sinister development in Iran, tens of thousands of ethnic Ahwazi Arabs, who populate the area bordering southern Iraq, are expected to be displaced to make way for an expanded military-industrial complex in an area known as the Arvand Free Zone. The zone will cover 60 square miles, including land around the border cities of Abadan and Khorramshahr.

From a militry standpoint these killings make no sense. Iraq no longer has an air force. These guys constitute no threat. Whatever the reasons for the killings they can not be blamed on any rational fear.


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