THE White House has authorized U.S. forces to take aggressive action against Iranian agents who are a threat to them or anybody else in Iraq. The announcement comes pursuant to President Bush's declaration in his "surge" speech that the United States would pursue more aggressively Iranian and Syrian meddling in Iraq.
The new policy, it was stressed, does not authorize cross-border operations, although the announcement surely must raise that possibility in the minds of the people in Tehran and Damascus. The National Security Council says it has evidence that Iran has been training Iraqi insurgents and supplying them with remote-controlled explosives, which, if it could be incontestably tied to the deaths of U.S. troops, would seem to call for reprisals.
The issue of semi-overt Iranian involvement in Iraq comes at a delicate time for U.S.-Iranian relations because Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seems determined to see how far he can go in goading the United States before he provokes a response.
Iran might want to carefully consider its use of diplomatic missions in Iraq. Given the fact that Iranian "students" held 52 American diplomats hostage for 444 days, Tehran is in no great position to invoke international laws governing diplomatic immunity nor does the United States have any great incentive to respect them.
U.S. ties Iranian leader to bombs killing U.S. troops-- February 11, 2007
Story Highlights • NEW: U.S. shows evidence it says proves Iran behind deadly bombings • NEW: Security sweeps planned this week to close 10 Baghdad neighborhoods • 23 people wounded by mortar attacks in Mosul • Suicide bombing at police building near Tikrit kills 12
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- The U.S. military Sunday presented evidence it says shows an elite Iranian force under the command of Iran's supreme leader is behind bombings that have killed at least 170 U.S. troops in Iraq.
U.S. officials have made general statements in the past year about Iranian involvement in Iraq, but haven't provided many details.
The charges came at a Baghdad briefing by a senior defense official, a senior defense analyst and an explosives expert, all of whom asked to remain unnamed.
The officials focused on EFPs, or explosively formed penetrators, as evidence that Iran is involved in arming Iraqi insurgents. EFPs can punch through heavily armored vehicles.
The U.S. military officials said EFPs are manufactured in such a specific way that they can be traced to Iran.
Also, the U.S. military says 81 mm mortar shells used in deadly attacks in Iraq can also be directly traced to Iran.
The U.S. military said the munitions are being provided to Shiite groups in Iraq by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's Quds force, which answers directly to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The military officials said a senior operations officer for the Quds force was among several Iranian officers arrested in Irbil, Iraq, in the past few weeks.
According to the U.S. military, other Iranian officers have provided information that Iran also is arming a prominent Iraqi political organization.
The officers were detained during a December raid on the Baghdad compound of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a powerful Shiite political group with close ties to Iran.
The raid also netted documents that confirmed the arms sale, the U.S. military said.
Officials with the political organization said the munitions were used for security purposes. However, the U.S. military officials disputed that, saying the kind of mortars and sniper rifles provided are not used for self-defense.
Anti-American Cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr Reportedly Flees Iraq for Iran-- Tuesday, February 13, 2007
WASHINGTON — Anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has fled Iraq for Iran ahead of a security crackdown in Baghdad and President Bush's announced influx of 21,500 U.S. troops, a senior U.S. official said Tuesday.
Al-Sadr left his Baghdad stronghold some weeks ago, the official said. Al-Sadr is believed to be in Tehran, where he has family.
One more Persian SUCKER bites the dust! Hip, hip, hooray...
Carrier Task Force (CTF)-- CBS News reported on 18 December 2006 that the Bush administration has decided to ramp up the naval presence in the Persian Gulf to send a message to Tehran.
The mission of Carrier Task Force (CTF) is similar to that of a carrier strike group, but much larger in scale and scope: to deter and dissuade aggression, keep sea-lanes open for commerce, and conduct maritime security operations. The carrier task force is part of "training like we fight". As the Navy looks at different hot spots overseas, the best response to many scenarios requires a multi-carrier task force. The purpose of training as a CTF during JTFEX is to provide warfare commanders with the greatest capability and staying power for fighting the global war on terrorism with a dual-carrier, combat-ready, maritime force.
Air power “persistence” is essential. During normal cyclic flight operations, a pilot spends a significant amount of time transiting to and from target areas. With the enhanced capabilities the CTF provides, by alternating air plan flight cycles, the CTF is able to maintain a nearly constant air presence over the targeted areas. It is difficult for one CVW to conduct flight operations for much more than about 12 hours before having to stop. However, with the combined striking power of two CVWs, the CTF is able to conduct air operations over a continuous 24-hour cycle. During the early days of Operation Enduring Freedom, USS Enterprise (CVN 65) was operating with USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) off the coast of Afghanistan. When the order to launch air strikes arrived, together, both CVWs flew 24-hours a day.
I hear tell a THIRD carrier battle group is slated for the Persian Gulf waters later on this spring. Talk about some awesome firepower now! If we "wanted to" that will be enough weaponry to wipe the entire country of Iran off of this earth many, many times over! And remember we also are patrolling with Trident submarines worldwide 365 days a year.
U.S. Strike Might Not Destroy Iran Nuke Sites-- February 23, 2007
WASHINGTON - Any U.S. attack against Iran could involve thousands of sorties and missile launches lasting weeks, but it still would not eliminate the country's nuclear program, U.S. military officials and analysts say.
A strike -- something the Pentagon insists is not planned -- would be hampered by lack of intelligence on the number and location of nuclear facilities dispersed throughout Iran, the analysts said.
And the most sophisticated U.S. "bunker-buster" bombs might be unable to dig deep enough to reach buried, hardened nuclear sites, according to analysts and defense officials.
"It is highly unlikely all the critical sites are known to U.S. and Western intelligence services, so parts of the program would doubtless survive, perhaps even the most critical elements," said Bruce Riedel, a former National Security Council and Defense Department official, and now a Brookings Institution analyst.
An air strike, raised as the most likely option if any military action were ordered, would at best set Iran's nuclear program back a few years.
"The people who are most optimistic favor it because they think it will delay, not derail, the Iranian nuclear program," said Justin Logan, a Cato Institute analyst in Washington.
Many officials and military analysts say a U.S. attack on Iran is unlikely. The U.S. military is stretched thin by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and there is little international support for it.
U.S. officials consistently stress diplomacy as the best way to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear program, which the United States and others say Tehran is using to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charge, saying it seeks only peaceful nuclear energy.
Despite the Bush administration's focus on talks, military maneuvers and the rhetoric coming from Washington and Tehran have fostered speculation about an armed confrontation.
WEAK INTELLIGENCE HURTS OPTIONS
Defense officials who spoke on condition of anonymity in broad terms about military options, mentioned alternatives ranging from limited air strikes to a more sustained air campaign. Analysts offer more detail, but acknowledge their assessments are only an educated guess.
The officials say a U.S. strike would target Iran's known nuclear facilities and other military installations, including missile sites and anti-aircraft systems.
It would involve bomber aircraft dropping bunker-buster bombs to hit the underground nuclear sites, defense officials and analysts said. Another component would be cruise missiles launched from U.S. naval vessels in the Gulf, they added.
Some military officials have discussed a campaign that could involve hundreds of sorties over a few days. But some scenarios that expand targets to other government and weapons facilities could require thousands of sorties over many weeks, analysts said.
Analysts and military officials in Washington said neither option was considered likely to wipe out Iran's nuclear program.
The first problem is finding the targets. The Center for Strategic and International Studies analyst Anthony Cordesman has said that while international inspectors have identified at least 18 sites, there could be as many as 70.
Beyond intelligence, U.S. munitions might not be able to do the job. Cato's Logan said the most effective U.S. bunker-buster bomb could not drill deep enough through hardened concrete and rock to hit nuclear facilities believed to be buried at least 15 meters (50 feet) underground.
A series of sorties would be necessary with bombs guided repeatedly to the same site to inflict heavy damage.
"Those limitations would clearly affect us," said one defense official.
But Pentagon officials say the United States could damage Iran's nuclear program.
"Clearly the United States has tremendous capability, but it has no intent and is not planning to go to war with Iran," said spokesman Bryan Whitman.
U.S. Begins Show of Force in Persian Gulf-- Tuesday, March 27, 2007
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The U.S. Navy on Tuesday began its largest demonstration of force in the Persian Gulf since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, led by a pair of aircraft carriers and backed by warplanes flying simulated attack maneuvers off the coast of Iran.
The maneuvers bring together two strike groups of U.S. warships and more than 100 U.S. warplanes to conduct simulated air warfare in the crowded Gulf shipping lanes.
The U.S. exercises come just four days after Iran's capture of 15 British sailors and marines who Iran said had strayed into Iranian waters near the Gulf. Britain and the U.S. Navy have insisted the British sailors were operating in Iraqi waters.
U.S. Navy Cmdr. Kevin Aandahl said the U.S. maneuvers were not organized in response to the capture of the British sailors — nor were they meant to threaten the Islamic Republic, whose navy operates in the same waters.
He declined to specify when the Navy planned the exercises.
Aandahl said the U.S. warships would stay out of Iranian territorial waters, which extend 12 miles off the Iranian coast.
A French naval strike group, led by the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, was operating simultaneously just outside the Gulf. But the French ships were supporting the NATO forces in Afghanistan and not taking part in the U.S. maneuvers, officials said.
Overall, the exercises involve more than 10,000 U.S. personnel on warships and aircraft making simulated attacks on enemy shipping with aircraft and ships, hunting enemy submarines and finding mines.
"What it should be seen as by Iran or anyone else is that it's for regional stability and security," Aandahl said. "These ships are just another demonstration of that. If there's a destabilizing effect, it's Iran's behavior."
A Deadly U.S.-Iran Firefight-- Friday, March 30, 2007
US soldiers stand near their vehicle at the Iraq-Iran border crossing point of Bashmakh in the province of Kurdistan, March 3, 2007.
The soldiers who were there still talk about the September 7 firefight on the Iran-Iraq border in whispers. At Forward Operating Base Warhorse, the main U.S. military outpost in Iraq's eastern Diyala Province bordering Iran, U.S. troops recount events reluctantly, offering details only on condition that they remain nameless. Everyone seems to sense the possible consequences of revealing that a clash between U.S. and Iranian forces had turned deadly. And although the Pentagon has acknowledged that a firefight took place, it says it cannot say anything more. "For that level of detail, you're going to have to ask the [U.S.] military in Baghdad," says Army Lieut. Col. Mark Ballesteros. "We don't know anything about it."
A short Army press release issued on the day of the skirmish offered the following information: U.S. soldiers from the 5th Squadron 73rd Cavalry 82nd Airborne were accompanying Iraqi forces on a routine joint patrol along the border with Iran, about 75 miles east of Baghdad, when they spotted two Iranian soldiers retreating from Iraqi territory back into Iran. A moment later, U.S. and Iraqi forces came upon a third Iranian soldier on the Iraqi side of the border, who stood his ground. As U.S. and Iraqi soldiers approached the Iranian officer and began speaking with him, a platoon of Iranian soldiers appeared and moved to surround the coalition patrol, taking up positions on high ground. At that point, according to the Army's statement, the Iranian captain told the U.S. and Iraqi soldiers that if they tried to leave they would be fired on. Fearing abduction by the Iranians, U.S. troops moved to go anyway, and fighting broke out. Army officials say the Iranian troops fired first with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades, and that U.S. troops fell further back into Iraqi territory, while four Iraqi army soldiers, one interpreter and one Iraqi border guard remained in the hands of the Iranians.
The official release says there were no casualties among the Americans, and makes no mention of any on the Iranian side. U.S. soldiers present at the firefight, however, tell TIME that American forces killed at least one Iranian soldier who had been aiming a rocket-propelled grenade at their convoy of Humvees.
The revelation comes amid rising tensions over the past week since Iran captured 15 British Navy personnel in waters between Iran and Iraq. Analysts have suggested that some Iranian officials have argued against speedily returning the Brits, preferring to use them as a bargaining chip in Tehran's efforts to free five of its own officials captured by the U.S. in Erbil earlier this year. News that an Iranian soldier had been killed in a clash with American forces would do little to ease those tensions.
In the months after the incident, U.S. forces have kept up joint patrols on the Iran-Iraq border, where their movements are closely monitored by Iranian outposts. Increasingly, however, U.S. troops stationed in Diyala Province are moving to help counter-insurgency efforts in the Baqubah area, leaving a thinner American presence at the border. On some days, says Lt. Col. Ronald Ward, the U.S. commander tasked with helping Iraqi units maintain border security in the area, no U.S. troops appear there at all.
Nimitz strike group heads for Persian Gulf duty-- Monday, April 2, 2007
As hundreds of friends and family members waved and cheered from the piers Monday morning, the aircraft carrier Nimitz and four support ships glided into San Diego Bay on a deployment filled with more than the usual amount of uncertainty. The Nimitz strike group – which includes the cruiser Princeton and the destroyers Higgins, John Paul Jones, and Pinckney – is expected to replace the Eisenhower carrier in the Persian Gulf. It will serve with the carrier John C. Stennis during a time of growing friction with Iran.
The strike group's commander, Rear Adm Terry Blake, downplayed the risk. “I don't think you'll see any increased tensions between the Nimitz and any other countries,” he said. “I believe the U.S. has air supremacy in the Gulf.”
Still, some family members said they couldn't help feeling nervous. Iran is holding 15 British sailors hostage who were inspecting the cargo of merchant ships off the Iraqi coast. That's the same job some sailors on the destroyers will be doing.
“It bothers me a lot. I can't even understand why he joined,” said Carol Hyniger, who traveled with her husband from Pontiac, Mich., to see her son, Petty Officer 3rd Class William “Bobby” Grant off on his first deployment since he enlisted a year ago. “It's his life. I can't make his choices for him.”
“It's scary – extremely,” said Meaghan Kinzle, married just three weeks to Airman Justin Kinzle.
Already the families are hearing rumors the cruise will last longer than the planned six months, but so far that's all they appear to be, rumors.
“We just look forward to the day when the ship pulls back in in October,” said Carolyn Grooters of Phoenix, Ariz., mother of Petty Officer 3rd Class Brett Grooters. “We'll be standing right here.”
Britain found a ladder for Iran to climb down By Richard Dalton Last Updated: 12:01am BST 05/04/2007
This was a Middle Eastern solution, couched in terms of generosity, and none the less welcome for that. Iran may also have recognised that it had made as much mileage as it could domestically out of the capture.
It will have realised that, from the beginning, it had taken nothing but hits internationally. There was a complete lack of support for its actions from outside Iran, and a wide range of countries, including its neighbours, weighed in to urge the release of the captives.
We may never know who took the decision to make the capture in the first place. No one has ever doubted that Iran will defend its territory, so why this assertion of its determination? Probably to assuage Iranian sense of hurt at the external pressures on them and at the setbacks experienced by the Revolutionary Guards in Iraq.
The episode showed Iran living by its own capricious rules rather than international norms: willing to disrupt an operation by Coalition naval forces that was for the general good. The Iranians appear to have been improvising, rather than working to an overall plan. At his press conference, President Ahmadinejad appeared as a man of impulses who saw his moment and made the best use of the opportunity that presented itself.
Our Government's tactics were vindicated by the result. Sticking to the facts, a firm refusal both in public and in private to pay a price, and real discussions of substance behind the scenes, were consistent with finding a ladder for Iran to climb down.
Those complaining from the political Right, both here and in America, about a weak response were shown to be opportunistic and out of touch. Whether it was John Bolton, the former American ambassador to the UN, complaining about European resolve in general towards Iran, or editorialists regretting that there were no Palmerstons to defend the rights of Britons, such critics never set out a credible causal link between their preferred tactics and how to get Iran to release the captives.
The events shed light on the factors that anyone dealing with Iran has to keep in mind. Its diplomats and negotiators are often outflanked by radicals claiming to be true exponents of national values. They often speak of external enemies, as a way of fostering internal unity. Such revolutionary countries also have difficulty looking facts in the face and in drawing objective rather than ideologically motivated conclusions. They will be economical with the truth, to put it politely. There is lively argument among the factions and the personalities in the leadership, and it takes time to resolve them. Hence the need for patience and a thick skin.
In discussions, their representatives are dogged and determined, though they can change their line frequently and not necessarily consistently. They often think in terms of conspiracies. Their convoluted analysis of plots has to be carefully deconstructed to locate the common ground on whatever is the issue of the day.
Military lessons will no doubt be learnt. Clashes between forces operating in the Gulf have been successfully avoided for most of the long operating history of the Royal Navy and others in the Gulf. Let us hope that the exchanges that have taken place with Iran in the past few days have on this been fruitful. But more important than that is the need for additional force protection for exposed naval units. As reported in this paper yesterday, there are also concerns about intelligence gathering, training and funding. With an interventionist foreign policy in fifth gear, Parliament must make sure that the machine can run at such a speed.
Looking to the future, and while giving full weight to the uncertainty and the anguish for those directly involved, the episode will come to be seen as relatively minor in the sweep of events of the region. Its resolution leaves the same set of issues to be grappled with, and the same choices as to whether to accept Iran as a rational actor or a rogue player. There is no direct connection between this crisis and the nuclear issue, or any of the other disputes in which Iran is engaged, but it is a good moment to remind ourselves what it will take to make progress there.
Some will say it shows that Iran must be shown more respect, and more allowance made for its real grievances and its historic sense of victimhood. By all means we should understand the history, but there is no case for pandering to it. Iran has been master of its fate for decades now. Nations must earn respect. They can't be judge and jury in their own cause, as Iran wishes to be over its nuclear programme.
Another argument from this quarter is that engagement by America with Iran should be unconditional. But engagement is not an end in itself. There has to be sufficient confidence on both sides for it to begin. One or more of the major concerns of each side would have to be addressed to give the other a sense that an attempt at rapprochement was not so much wasted breath. The release of the captives shows the value of taking small steps to get a process going. Although there is no overt connection, it was helpful that the Second Secretary from the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad, who was kidnapped last month, suddenly reappeared and returned to Iran, and that America decided to give consular access to Iranians they had captured earlier in the year in Irbil.
More important is the restoration of American, and to a lesser extent, British credibility in the Middle East. That, in turn, requires progress in Iraq and a more even-handed approach to other big issues. In its ideological competition with the West, Iran feels it has the upper hand. It must be disabused of that. It was when Iran was relatively weak vis-à-vis America that it put out feelers in 2003 for a bargain. Iran might move towards international legality if it senses that its moment for exploiting Western disarray has passed.
In this, Britain's reputation for fairness and for understanding the Middle East must be restored. It was further damaged by its stance over Israel's disproportionate action last summer in Lebanon. There is a real opportunity with a change of Prime Minister to change perceptions and to improve our chances of helping to change Middle Eastern reality.
Iran is more rational actor than rogue, and diplomacy is still the best way forward.
Sir Richard Dalton was Ambassador to Iran, 2002-06 Boris Johnson returns next week.
This is lengthy, so have just posted the link. It's the Daily Telegraph News Bulletin this morning with a picture of the hostages being released, and the story. They've been treated well, and look well. They were still with the Iranians at the time of press, but they're on the way home:)
This is lengthy, so have just posted the link. It's the Daily Telegraph News Bulletin this morning with a picture of the hostages being released, and the story. They've been treated well, and look well. They were still with the Iranians at the time of press, but they're on the way home:)
WASHINGTON - The U.S. and Iran are getting together in Baghdad tomorrow to talk about Iraq but it's not expected to be an easy discussion.
The talks are the first of their kind amid a nearly 30 year history of animosity between Tehran and Washington. But the discussions are a small sign that the U.S. thinks it may be possible to better relations.
Still, the talks could prove difficult. Iran, which is angry at the U.S. Navy's blunt show of force during exercises in the Persian Gulf last week, almost refused to come. And yesterday, officials in Tehran said they uncovered spy rings organized by the U.S. and its Western allies.
One expert on the Council of Foreign Relations doesn't expect much progress. He says Iran thinks the U.S. is setting a trap with its show of military force and push for diplomacy.
Bush Wants Tougher Sanctions on Iran-- May 24, 2007
WASHINGTON -- President Bush pledged Thursday to work with allies to strengthen sanctions on Iran after a U.N. watchdog agency reported that Tehran was accelerating its nuclear enrichment program in defiance of international demands.
"The world has spoken and said ... no nuclear weapons programs. And yet they're constantly ignoring the demands," Bush said in a Rose Garden news conference. The ratcheting up of rhetoric against Iran came just days before U.S. and Iranian diplomats were to meet in Baghdad to discuss ways of stabilizing Iraq.
On Iran, the president said he had directed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to work with European partners to "develop further sanctions." He said he would also soon discuss the matter with U.N. Security Council members Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Hu Jintao.
Iran's leaders "continue to be defiant as to the demands of the free world," Bush said. "My view is that we need to strengthen our sanction regime."
The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, on Wednesday accused Iran of accelerating its uranium enrichment program despite international demands that it shut it down. The U.S. has moved two aircraft carriers and seven other ships into the Persian Gulf in a show of force.
And Iran has been increasing its detention of American citizens, including the jailing of a 67-year-old Iranian-American scholar, Haleh Esfandiari, who had been in Iran to visit her ailing 93-year-old mother.
"Obviously, to the extent that these people are picking up innocent Americans, it's unacceptable," Bush said. "And we've made it very clear to the Iranian government that the detention of good, decent American souls who are there to, you know, be beneficial citizens, is not acceptable behavior."
The Security Council imposed sanctions on Iran in December for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment and modestly increased them in March after Tehran stepped up the program, which can produce nuclear weapons. Iran reacted by giving U.N. inspectors less access to its nuclear facilities.
On Monday in Baghdad, U.S. ambassador Ryan Crocker will meet with his Iranian counterpart in a session designed to focus solely on a way forward in Iraq. It is to be one of the few such meetings since formal relations between the United States and Iran were frozen in 1980 in the hostage crisis.
U.S.: Iran helped in deadly Iraq strike-- July 2, 2007
BAGHDAD — Iranian forces helped plan one of the most sophisticated militant assaults of the Iraq war — a January raid in which gunmen posed as an American security team and launched an attack that killed five U.S. soldiers, an American general said Monday.
U.S. military spokesman Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner also accused Iran of using its Lebanese ally, the Shiite militia Hezbollah, as a "proxy" to arm Shiite militants in Iraq.
The claims were an escalation in U.S. accusations that Iran is fueling Iraq's violence, which the government in Tehran has denied. It was also the first time the U.S. military has said Hezbollah has a direct role — which, if true, would bring a dangerous new player into Iraq's conflict.
Hezbollah has denied any activities in Iraq, saying it operates only in Lebanon.
Bergner said a senior Lebanese Hezbollah operative, Ali Mussa Dakdouk, was captured March 20 in southern Iraq. Dakdouk, a 24-year veteran of Hezbollah, was sent to Lebanon "as a surrogate for the Iranian Quds Force" to finance and arm militant cells to carry out attacks on U.S. and Iraqi troops, he said.
The goal was to organize militants "in ways that mirrored how Hezbollah was organized in Lebanon," Bergner said. Hezbollah is one of the region's most disciplined and sophisticated militant groups, able to fight Israel's military to a near standstill in a war last summer.
The general also said that Dakdouk was a liaison between the Iranians and a breakaway Shiite group led by Qais al-Khazaali, a former spokesman for cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Bergner said al-Kazaali's group carried out the January attack against a provincial government building in Karbala and that the Iranians assisted in preparations. Al-Khazaali and his brother Ali al-Khazaali were captured with Dakdouk.
Dakdouk told U.S. interrogators that the Karbala attackers "could not have conducted this complex operation without the support and direction of the Quds force," Bergner said.
Documents captured with al-Khazaali showed that the Quds Force had developed detailed information on the U.S. position at the government building, "regarding our soldiers' activities, shift changes and defenses, and this information was shared with the attackers," Bergner said.
The Karbala attack was one of the boldest and most sophisticated against U.S. forces in four years of fighting in Iraq, and U.S. officials at the time suggested Iran may have had a role in it.
In the assault, up to a dozen gunmen posed as an American security team, with U.S. military combat fatigues, allowing them to pass checkpoints into the government compound, where they launched the attack. One U.S. soldier was killed in the initial assault, and the militants abducted four others who were later found shot to death.
On Monday, the U.S. military reported the deaths of five U.S. servicemembers killed in fighting a day earlier, including two soldiers who died in attacks in Baghdad and two soldiers and a Marine who died in fighting in western Anbar province. The deaths brought to 3,582 the number of members of the U.S. military who have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003.
The new accusations against Iran raise tensions between the two countries as Iraq is trying to organize a second round of direct talks between U.S. and Iranian officials in Baghdad. The U.S.-backed, Shiite-led Iraqi government, which has close ties to Iran, is pushing the two to ease their disputes to help reduce Iraq's turmoil, but a February meeting between the two sides made little headway.
Bergner said Iraqi extremists were taken to Iran in groups of 20 to 60 for training in three camps "not too far from Tehran." When they returned to Iraq, they formed units to carry out attacks, bombings and kidnappings.
"Our intelligence reveals that the senior leadership in Iran is aware of this activity," he said. He said it would be "hard to imagine" that Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was unaware of the activity.
Hezbollah spokesmen in Lebanon said they were checking into the claims Dakdouk was a member of the group and would not comment. The group has in the past denied any activities in Iraq. In late 2005, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said his government suspected that Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah might be supplying technology and explosives to Shiite Muslim militant groups operating in Iraq, but he provided no proof.
Hezbollah, he said, helps the Iranians as a "proxy ... to do things they didn't want to have to do themselves," Bergner said. He added that Hezbollah did not appear to have an extensive network in Iraq, saying Dakdouk was "being used specifically as a proxy by the Quds Force."
Dakdouk was captured with documents instructing the special groups on techniques, including how to attack a convoy, and with a personal diary detailing meetings with Iraqi militants. Al-Khazaali also had documents with details on 11 separate attacks on U.S. forces, Bergner said.
A total of 18 "higher-level operatives" from the Iranian-backed special groups have been arrested and three others killed since February, Bergner said.
So pray tell what will Mr Bush decide to do about all this. I suppose the best option would be to eaxpand the war and add a few more million to the total of those determined to kill American infidels. We're only tied down in a war we can't win in Iraq and another we can't win in afghanistan....why not attack the Iranians...afterall if we attack enough people we are bound to find somebody we can beat with our diplomatic style of walk softly carry a big stick. The problem is likely to become one of the stick growing heavier than we can carry though with the current success rates we are getting with it.
Practice safe sex.....Marry a death inmate...You'll never get none
seriously: I think Obama should have made them liquidate all their assets both business AND PERSONAL so they could climb over their own pile of s***; instead of expecting the American tax payers to do it.
Sept 1, 2019 20:35:38 GMT -5
seriously: Wake up people! Don't you realize that WE THE PEOPLE don't need the rich, THEY NEED US...to do the work that makes them richer so they don't have to clean their own toilets; and all we get is industrialized meats and crops, GMO's, antibiotic resistance.
Sept 1, 2019 20:38:53 GMT -5
seriously: Patented seed crops, running small farmer's out of business, toxic waste, poisoned water, dirty air, deforestation, global warming. By the way, who even wants to live in a GLOBAL GOVERNMENT world with a GLOBAL ECONOMY?
Sept 1, 2019 20:41:57 GMT -5
seriously: America should be more like Switzerland, fix our own 'broken wagon' and let the rest of the world fix theirs...it's not an U.S.A. problem. Screw oil, it pollutes the earth...GO SOLAR, WIND, WATER POWER! Screw the utility companies!
Sept 1, 2019 20:48:33 GMT -5
seriously: That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it. Best way to topple the rich...eliminate money and go back to the barter system; let the rich wipe their own bums and clean their own toilets...for a change! No more "Groom of the stool" for them.
Sept 1, 2019 20:51:50 GMT -5
seriously: Then banks and wall street can crash all they want; why should we be dragged down with them.
Sept 1, 2019 20:53:16 GMT -5
alanthony 007: hi, its alanthony; attorney " bartner and solicitor " for Miss Darlie Routier. I was out of town working on a high profile case. I'm back with an unusual part of the Law that will set my client free, so shall we proceed. first, everyone must listen to
Nov 27, 2019 20:52:02 GMT -5
Jeffery Daughtery: Walter Barton (Arkie) has been on Missouri's capital punishment row for many, many years. He has been through 5 trials! Each time is guilty. He'll finally go to hell on May 19, 2020...
Feb 22, 2020 20:23:42 GMT -5
Jeffery Daughtery: This site has a locked ARKIE BOARD shouting out his innocence. Shout it out to the devil that his son will be home soon...
Feb 22, 2020 20:25:41 GMT -5
alanthony 008: why would anyone give a s*** about Barton, he is convicted of killing a nobody, and he,s one too.
Mar 20, 2020 4:19:50 GMT -5
alanthony 008: you know.. two pieces of tailor trash, its a waist were even typing about it .. so off he goes, who cares.
Mar 20, 2020 4:30:41 GMT -5