Thursday, August 04, 2005

Iran's shipping IEDs into Iraq

Dan Darling,

During the trials of the 1998 embassy bombers, the one-time head of bin Laden's Praetorian Guard, Ali Mohammed, made a number of unusual statements that would forever change the world of counter-terrorism. Here are some of the more revealing statements made by Mohammed:

I was aware of certain contacts between al-Qaida and al-Jihad organization, on one side, and Iran and Hizballah on the other side" Mohamed said. "“I arranged security for a meeting in the Sudan between Mughniyah, Hizballah’s chief, and bin Ladin."

"Hizballah provided explosives training for al-Qaida and al-Jihad,” Mohamed said, adding, "“Iran also used Hizballah to supply explosives that were disguised to look like rocks."” Mohamed’s statement has a ring of truth; such disguised explosives were used extensively by Hizballah against Israeli army patrols in South Lebanon. Mohamed testified that "“much of this type of training is actually carried out at a training camp there, in Iran, run by the Iranian Ministry of Information and Security."

Then there was this article from September 2002 that carried little notice but might well be worth revisiting:

U.S. intelligence has detected a suspected al-Qaida training camp in a remote area of eastern Iran along the border with Afghanistan, sources told NBC News. Overhead imagery shows what appears to be a training camp complete with a terrorist obstacle course and a rifle range, much like those al-Qaida used in Afghanistan to train for assassinations.

Why am I bringing this up? Well thanks to an e-mail I received from Tom Holsinger, we now know why the IEDs (which have long been the #1 killer of US troops in Iraq) are starting to become even more lethal:

U.S. military and intelligence officials tell NBC News that American soldiers intercepted a large shipment of high explosives, smuggled into northeastern Iraq from Iran only last week.


The officials say the shipment contained dozens of "shaped charges" manufactured recently. Shaped charges are especially lethal because they’re designed to concentrate and direct a more powerful blast into a small area.

“They’ll go right through a very heavily armored vehicle like an M1-A1 tank from one side right out the other side,” says retired U.S. Army General Barry McCaffrey.

Military officials say there’s only one use for shaped charges — to kill American forces — and insurgents started using them in Iraq with deadly effectiveness three months ago.

Intelligence officials believe the high-explosives were shipped into Iraq by the Iranian Revolutionary guard or the terrorist group Hezbollah, but are convinced it could not have happened without the full consent of the Iranian government.

The choice of locations for the explosives shipment (northeastern Iraq) means that the intended recipients were almost certainly members of Ansar al-Islam/Ansar al-Sunnah which is, lest we forget, an al-Qaeda affiliate group. Yet another blow to the Shi'ites don't work with Sunnis mantra ...

It isn't just NBC News that's picking up on this, either. The New York Times has also picked up on this:

Bomb-making techniques used by the anti-Israeli militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon increasingly have begun appearing in roadside bombs in Iraq. A senior American commander said that bombs employing shaped charges closely match Hezbollah's homemade bombs used against Israel.

bq. "Our assessment is that they are probably going off to school," to learn how to make bombs that can destroy armored vehicles, the officer said.

So Hezbollah is likely training Iraqi insurgents on how to make IEDs, eh? I'm not terribly surprised as this tends to track with what I've been saying about the nature of Iranian cooperation with the Sunni elements of the insurgency for awhile now - there's a Newsweek story from October 2003 talking about how Ansar fighters fleeing the US invasion received safe harbor and weapons inside Iran. Something for Americans to the think about when Ahmadinejad comes to NYC shortly ...

Faster, please.

So Iran is supplying al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq with explosives to kill U.S. soldiers. Remember, Iran is the same government that is giving shelter to al Qaeda's management team in Iran.