October 24, 2010

America’s real enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan
Posted by Stephen Flurry at 8:05 am on October 24, 2010
Following its illegal distribution of 77,000 classified documents in July, mostly about the war in Afghanistan, WikiLeaks has now released 391,832 secret documents from the battleground of Iraq. While there are no earthshaking revelations in the huge trove of documents, it does shed additional light on Iranian support for Iraqi militias. Yesterday, the New York Times wrote,
Iran’s military, more than has been generally understood, intervened aggressively in support of Shiite combatants, offering weapons, training and sanctuary and in a few instances directly engaging American troops. 

This report, also appearing in the New York Times, details the extent of Iran’s influence in Iraq:
Scores of documents made public by WikiLeaks, which has disclosed classified information about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, provide a ground-level look—at least as seen by American units in the field and the United States’ military intelligence—at the shadow war between the United States and Iraqi militias backed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

During the administration of President George W. Bush, critics charged that the White House had exaggerated Iran’s role to deflect criticism of its handling of the war and build support for a tough policy toward Iran, including the possibility of military action.

But the field reports disclosed by WikiLeaks, which were never intended to be made public, underscore the seriousness with which Iran’s role has been seen by the American military. The political struggle between the United States and Iran to influence events in Iraq still continues as Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has sought to assemble a coalition—that would include the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr—that will allow him to remain in power. But much of the American’s military concern has revolved around Iran’s role in arming and assisting Shiite militias.

Citing the testimony of detainees, a captured militant’s diary and numerous uncovered weapons caches, among other intelligence, the field reports recount Iran’s role in providing Iraqi militia fighters with rockets, magnetic bombs that can be attached to the underside of cars, “explosively formed penetrators,” or
e.f.p.’s, which are the most lethal type of roadside bomb in Iraq, and other weapons. Those include powerful .50-caliber rifles and the Misagh-1, an Iranian replica of a portable Chinese surface-to-air missile, which, according to the reports, was fired at American helicopters and downed one in east Baghdad in July 2007.

Iraqi militants went to Iran to be trained as snipers and in the use of explosives, the field reports assert, and Iran’s Quds Force collaborated with Iraqi extremists to encourage the assassination of Iraqi officials.

The reports make it clear that the lethal contest between Iranian-backed militias and American forces continued after President Obama sought to open a diplomatic dialogue with Iran’s leaders and reaffirmed the agreement between the United States and Iraq to withdraw American troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.
Another story, appearing in today’s New York Times, describes Iran’s not-so-subtle attempt to bribe officials within President Hamid Karzai’s government in Afghanistan. According to the report, after Karzai wrapped up his official visit to Iran in August, Iran’s ambassador to Afghanistan boarded Karzai’s plane on the airport tarmac in Tehran carrying a large plastic bag full of euro bills. According to eyewitnesses on the plane, the ambassador handed the bag of cash to Umar Daudzai, Karzai’s chief of staff. The Times reports,
The bag of money is part of a secret, steady stream of Iranian cash intended to buy the loyalty of Mr. Daudzai and promote Iran’s interests in the presidential palace, according to Afghan and Western officials here. Iran uses its influence to help drive a wedge between the Afghans and their American and nato benefactors, they say.

The payments, which officials say total millions of dollars, form an off-the-books fund that Mr. Daudzai and Mr. Karzai have used to pay Afghan lawmakers, tribal elders and even Taliban commanders to secure their loyalty, the officials said.

“It’s basically a presidential slush fund,” a Western official in Kabul said of the Iranian-supplied money. “Daudzai’s mission is to advance Iranian interests.” 
Not that any of this is surprising. It just adds to a mountain of evidence that clearly identifies America’s real enemy in the Middle East—what we have identified as the biblically prophesied “king of the south” for more than 15 years—the Islamic Republic of Iran.