No debate over Iran's involvement in Iraq



"Al Qaeda remains the wolf closest to the sled, if you will. The enemy that is always bent on reigniting sectarian violence, causing the most horrific casualties, damaging the infrastructure in the most difficult way. So you cannot lose focus on al Qaeda."

But, Petraeus added, there was "no question" that Iranian arms were ending up in the hands of the Iraqi militias and there was "no debate" that six Iranians detained by the U.S. military in northern Iraq are Iranian Quds force members, the Iranian unit accused by the United States of training and arming insurgents.

"There's no question, absolutely no question that Iran is providing advanced RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades], RPG 29s," Petraeus said.

"It has provided some shoulder-fired, Stinger-like air-defense missiles. It has provided the explosively formed projectiles and it has provided 244 mm rockets, in addition to mortars, mortar rounds and other small-arms ammunition."

Petraeus also said the Iranians "are implicated in the assassination of some governors in the southern provinces."

He said one indication the Quds force controls Iranian policy is that Iran's ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Kazzem Qomi, is a member of the the group. Qomi, who has diplomatic immunity, could not immediately be reached for a reaction.

Gen. Petraeus said the Iranian ambassador has given his Iraqi counterpart assurances Iran would stop the supplying and training of insurgents.


The U.S. military has intercepted caches of explosively formed projectiles -- a more sophisticated and powerful type of roadside bomb -- and other weapons from Iran in recent months, but Petraeus said stopping the regular flow of arms to the militias is a challenge.

As al Qaeda forces in Iraq are destroyed, more focus will come to the Iranian ratlines supplying the militias. The story did not indicate what the recently announced truce between Shia militia leaders might mean in the war. I suspect it will mean very little and that the Sadr group will not honor their word anyway. They have not in the passed.

The Iranian weapons issue gives a good example of how Iran lies. The proof that the weapons are Iranian is irrefutable. The weapons still have the Iranian manufacturing labels on them. Yet Iran still claims to not be responsible for them. Then there are the Iranian officers who have been captured who are responsible for bringing in the weapons, that Iran also denies. The fact is that Iran's word is no good when it comes to weapons smuggling and assistance to terrorism. This is why any negotiated agreement with Iran would be of little value.


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