Saturday, May 13, 2006

Iran supplied al-Qaeda in Iraq with AA weapons.

According to this report from Azzaman, Iran's revolutionary guard corps is supplying Zarqawi's al-Qaeda in Iraq with Russian-made anti-aircraft weapons including the infrared guided, shoulder-born missile Sam 7 (Strela) in addition to other weaponry like machineguns and improved IEDs.

Iran Focus provides a translation of Azzaman's report:

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) had provided the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq heavy weapons including anti-aircraft missiles, it emerged on Friday.

The Iraqi daily az-Zaman which is published in London and Baghdad quoted credible Iraqi sources as revealing that the IRGC had given al-Qaeda in Iraq, Strela-type SAM-7 surface-to-air missiles, modern explosives, and a large number of personnel arms including Kalashnikovs and BKC machineguns.

The report says Hizbullah of Lebanon played the mediator role in this deal:

Representatives of al-Zarqawi’s group met in Beirut with members of the Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah and through them established channels with Tehran.

And the network grows to involve Iraqi facilitators, Azzaman adds:

Three of Zarqawi's aides entered Iran through a border cross-point in the Amara region in the south east of Iraq, IRGC personnel instructed the Iraqi border guards guarding that cross-point to facilitate the movement of the al-Qaeda members.

Moreover, this doesn’t seem to be the first incident where similar weapons pass into Iraq from Iran; interesting that the state found al-Sabah newspaper-that is not normally in agreement with what Azzaman publishes-had a report on a similar smuggling incident that dates back to late April:

Sources in the border guards in Diyala province said that there are anti-aircraft weapons entering Iraq as part of deals between smugglers and insurgent groups in Iraq.
Brigadier Nadhum Sherif commander of Diyala border guards told al-Sabah that on April 24-2006 his forces foiled the delivery of weapons to terror groups in the area of Qara-lous…weapon smuggling operation take place in remote areas far from the eyes of our forces but our corps received intelligence that weapon smugglers were about to deliver large amounts of weapons to the terrorists including Russian-made anti-aircraft weapons produced in 2005…we found the weapons left in hidden caches in the mountainous area…

Just another example of how helpful a neighbor the Mullahs are, of course! They want everything to be stable on the ground.


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