Iranian Techniques Tested in Iraq

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The recent upsurge on mortar attacks against key Iraqi and US government facilities in Baghdad could be partly attributed to Iranian training of insurgents, a top coalition commander said late last week.

Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno told reporters at the Pentagon recent sweeps in Diyala province have netted around 50 high value terror suspects, most of whom are Iraqis whove joined al Qaeda and most of those are IED builders and truck/car bomb factory facilitators.

Some, however, are Shiite insurgents who have received training in Iran on mortar techniques.

Odierno explained:

We have found a few people that were Shi’a extremists that were connected to — that had some training in Iran — those mostly being the mortar and rocket teams inside of Baghdad where they were trained in Iran and came in here to conduct attacks against not only coalition and Iraqi security forces, but government of Iraq targets inside of the Green Zone.

The attacks on the Green Zone bolster arguments that the Baghdad security plan is a failure, pushing America closer and closer to an early withdrawal. Odierno said Iran is conducting a surge of its own.

I think it’s Iran’s attempt to continue to destabilize Iraq and inflict as many casualties as they can, frankly, on U.S. forces who are operating in Iraq. … What I have seen, though, is a steady increase in support to Shi’a extremists. I think they are trying to surge their support to Shi’a extremists. We’ve seen an increased flow of training to mortar teams and rocket teams, we’ve seen an increase in some flow of weapons and munitions into Iraq. We are working very hard to cut those lines every day from Iran.

Though Odierno did tamp down accusations that Iran was supplying Sunni groups in Iraq to accomplish the same goal. This, after a top US diplomat in Afghanistan claimed evidence of direct links to Iranian government military shipments to Taliban insurgents.

And he went on to explain the intricate system of cut-outs that help deflect any direct links to the Iranian governments support and training of Shiite insurgents.

I think it’s the Qods Force working with Iraqi surrogates that work inside of Iraq. It’s probably in some cases a network that was developed prior to Saddam Hussein’s downfall and they continue to operate. And so we watch that extremely closely. We think that’s the majority of where it’s happening.

I would just say, again, I think some of the reason — with the operations in Baqubah and Diyala province, we think, we’re hoping will affect some of this. We want to put pressure also on that network, of cutting those supplies of weapons that are coming in from Iran. And that’s one of the other reasons why we’re conducting this operation.

I understand that many DT readers strongly debate the Iranian connection. But Odierno seemed to indicate there would be more concrete information emerging from the latest Diyala sweeps that would be shared with the media to prove out assertions of Iranian complicity in the deaths of Iraqis and US forces.

And I think, you know, we’ve had some indications of that through some of the people we’ve detained, and I think in the future here we’re going to lay some of that out for you. So I think — we feel pretty confident about those links.

Christian

  • b

    Wonder about the title of the post:
    “Iranian Techniques Tested in Iraq”
    There is nothing in the post about “Iranian technics” or their testing in Iraq.
    The only thing is Odierno, without any proof, musing about mortars at the Green Zone by -possivle- Iran supported elements.
    There is not much training needed to use a mortar or short range rocket. Why would Iraqis, 100,000 of them kicked out of Saddams old army thanks to Rumsfeld/Bremer, need any training for these at all?
    This is again simply hyping an assumed “threat” without any, any proof.
    May I see those WMDs again please?

  • sglover

    Whoever runs this site never should have let this yahoo Christian post articles. Still spreading the hysteria, eh boy? For the third time — I’m going to type this slowly so even you can grasp it — look at a map of the Iraq vicinity. Then, after you’ve acquainted yourself with some basic geography, you can report back to us about who has a better claim to try to influence the region, and who’s meddling.
    Idiot.

  • Wembley

    They were pretty confident about the non-existent WMD in Iraq too.
    Those Austrian sniper rifles did not pan out.
    EFP facoties have been found in Iraq.
    Enough of the allegations: let’s see some actual evidence rather than just mud-slinging.

  • jim

    The Iranian involvement has been proven time and time again. It’s not seriously in doubt. What to do about it is the question. So far we’ve taken a very restrained approach, which is probably the best course of action at the moment.
    Willful ignorance is not a substitute for critical thinking.

  • Hoax Meister

    “Iranian tactics”?? Unless the Iranians invented the mortar, it sounds like basic infantry tactics–I see nothing that is uniquely Iranian about a mortar barrage.
    The article did mention one important aspect to this situation. These Iranian-Iraqi networks most definitely date back to the Iran-Iraq war, where the Iranians used Shia and even Kurds to undermine the Baathists. Obviously, US intel knows this and is seeking ways to encourage those groups to drop their Iranian relationship in favor of a US one. It would be an interesting article that covered the extent of these relationships and how they have evolved in post-Saddam Iraq.

  • Les H

    When are we going to get a stream of articles about the involvement of Saudi Arabia and Jordan in the Sunni insurgency and terrorist cells? For instance, two-thirds of the suicide bomb attacks are being carried out by Saudi nationals.

  • ellis

    Hey sglover,
    With your extraordinary grasp of geography and your super-fast typing skills, you’d be a lock for a job editing a site like this and informing us all of your vaunted opinions. Or a valuable asset to the intelligence community, or even advising the President. So why are you sitting in your basement shrieking at the screen about how unqualified the guys running this website must be? You’re reading it. Who’s the idiot?

  • Max

    Actually, the sniper rifles DID pan out. We just haven’t punished Iran for it.
    We still haven’t dealt with repeated Iranian incursions into Iraqi territory.
    http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1605487,00.html
    Iranian Army units shooting at US Army units in Iraq haven’t been dealt with.
    Components for the EFP are coming from Iran.
    Today the Sun reported that Iranian helicopters are flying into Iraq fairly regularly.
    The Iranians tried to seize Australian Navy personnel before British personnel were taken
    If you don’t think that Iran is fighting a war against the US-you ARE A FOOL.
    But we knew that about you Glover. You still think John Kerry would have done a better job.

  • sglover

    Look, to all you Clausewitzen talking about how Iran *really is* backing proxies in Iraq, all I can say is, No shit?!?! The point, geniuses, is that Iraq and Iran are neighbors — geographically, culturally, historically. It’s THEIR part of the world, not ours. If we believed that hostile powers were supporting proxies in what we consider our sphere of interest, we’d be doing *exactly* what the Iranians are doing. In fact, we did, in El Salvador and Nicaragua.
    So how’s about you drop the breathless moral outrage about evil Tehran, unless you enjoy looking stupid, laughable, hypocritical.

  • sglover

    Look, to all you Clausewitzen talking about how Iran *really is* backing proxies in Iraq, all I can say is, No shit?!?! The point, geniuses, is that Iraq and Iran are neighbors — geographically, culturally, historically. It’s THEIR part of the world, not ours. If we believed that hostile powers were supporting proxies in what we consider our sphere of interest, we’d be doing *exactly* what the Iranians are doing. In fact, we did, in El Salvador and Nicaragua.
    So how’s about you drop the breathless moral outrage about evil Tehran, unless you enjoy looking stupid, laughable, hypocritical.

  • Kniero

    “ellis said:
    Hey sglover,
    With your extraordinary grasp of geography and your super-fast typing skills, you’d be a lock for a job editing a site like this and informing us all of your vaunted opinions. Or a valuable asset to the intelligence community, or even advising the President. So why are you sitting in your basement shrieking at the screen about how unqualified the guys running this website must be? You’re reading it. Who’s the idiot?”
    One is not but a fool for visiting a transferrer of informational access, but one is (a fool) when considering such a thing without the level of prudence being considered “not a fool” warrants.
    As far as I know, understanding Iran’s aggressive behavior as responsives to perceived threats as something “not evil” is workable. But, understanding it as “not evil” when they wish entire, legitimate parties “wiped off the map” isn’t workable.

  • ajay

    I presume Odierno has some captured Iranian mortarmen he can show the media.
    No?
    Or some captured Iranian trainers?
    How about some mortars that can be traced to Iran?
    How about, you know, any evidence at all? Because being fed a line of utter bull about Iraqi weapons by a decorated general* is what got us into this in the first place, so I’m not exactly keen to make the same mistake again. (*That would be Powell.)

  • Brian H

    Training is cheap and portable, and generally hard to track, so it’s a good option for increasing “friend’s” capabilities. As far as the simplicity of mortaring, are there or are there not different skill levels? If there are, training counts. Duh.
    Iran is unquestionably destabilizing Iraq in every way it can; playing both ends against the middle is hardly a stretch. It would be surprising if it didn’t do so, actually. Figure Mookie’s outburst recently as pique that he’s not their only or main proxy there.

  • Michael Hank

    For those of you who have never been in Iraq? How the hell would you know….We were catching lots of insurgents moving in and about our AOR being “trained” on the spot by unidentified people, traicing them with ROV to their homes, picking them up and then some officer at a checkpoint not finding any evidence to hold them. Iranians have been using our weak point to bolster and expand their operation deep within Iraq for years.