Iran Proxy Hezb'allah Training Iraqi Militias - in Iran

The Lebanese terrorist group Hezb'allah is training Iraqi militia members in Tehran according to American sources in Iraq.

The New York Times:

An American official said the account of Hezbollah's role was provided by four Shiite militia members who were captured in Iraq late last year and questioned separately.

The United States has long charged that the Iranians were training Iraqi militia fighters in Iran, which Iran has consistently denied, and there have been previous reports about Hezbollah operatives in Iraq.

But the Americans say the reports of Hezbollah's role at the Iranian camp offer important details about Iranian assistance to the militias, including efforts Iran appears to be making to train the fighters in unobtrusive ways.

Material from the interrogations was given to the Iraqi government, along with other data about captured Iranian arms, before it sent a delegation to Tehran last week to discuss allegations of Iranian aid to militia groups.

That delegation met with the Iranians and were told that Iran was not training the militias or supplying them weapons:

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said there was no "hard evidence" of involvement by the neighbouring Shiite government of Iran in backing Shiite militiamen in the embattled country.

Asked about reports that weapons captured from Shiite fighters bore 2008 markings suggesting Iranian involvement, Dabbagh said: "We don't have that kind of evidence... If there is hard evidence we will defend the country."

Dabbagh said an Iraqi parliamentary delegation which visited Iran last week had useful discussions with authorities there and secured assurances of support and understanding of the crisis.

"They talked frankly about the fears and concerns in Iraq," he told reporters at a news conference in the tightly guarded Green Zone of Baghdad where the Iraqi government and the US embassy are located.

He stressed that Iraq was keen to have better relations with Iran and did not want another conflict.

But the evidence seems very compelling. And the denial by Iran does not include training of Iraqi militias by their proxies:

There has been debate among experts about the extent to which Iran is responsible for instability in Iraq. But President Bush and other American officials, in public castigations of Iran, have said that Iran has been consistently meddlesome in Iraq and that the Iranians have long sought to arm and train Iraqi militias, which the American military has called "special groups."

In a possible effort to be less obtrusive, it appears that Iran is now bringing small groups of Iraqi Shiite militants to camps in Iran, where they are taught how to do their own training, American officials say.

The militants then return to Iraq to teach comrades how to fire rockets and mortars, fight as snipers or assemble explosively formed penetrators, a particularly lethal type of roadside bomb made of Iranian components, according to American officials. The officials describe this approach as "training the trainers."

The implied mandate of the militiamen is to kill Americans. That kind of training is not meant to teach militiamen to kill Iraqis.

Rumors abound in Washington of a planned strike by the United States against these training camps as well as factories that make the IED's and perhaps even the headquarters of the "Special Groups" - the Revolutionary Guard's Qods Force - to punish the Iranians for their interference. For the moment, however, it appears that the US is giving the Iraqis an opportunity to deal diplomatically with the problem. That may change if the Iraqi government can't keep the Iranians from meddling in their country.



The Lebanese terrorist group Hezb'allah is training Iraqi militia members in Tehran according to American sources in Iraq.

The New York Times:

An American official said the account of Hezbollah's role was provided by four Shiite militia members who were captured in Iraq late last year and questioned separately.

The United States has long charged that the Iranians were training Iraqi militia fighters in Iran, which Iran has consistently denied, and there have been previous reports about Hezbollah operatives in Iraq.

But the Americans say the reports of Hezbollah's role at the Iranian camp offer important details about Iranian assistance to the militias, including efforts Iran appears to be making to train the fighters in unobtrusive ways.

Material from the interrogations was given to the Iraqi government, along with other data about captured Iranian arms, before it sent a delegation to Tehran last week to discuss allegations of Iranian aid to militia groups.

That delegation met with the Iranians and were told that Iran was not training the militias or supplying them weapons:

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said there was no "hard evidence" of involvement by the neighbouring Shiite government of Iran in backing Shiite militiamen in the embattled country.

Asked about reports that weapons captured from Shiite fighters bore 2008 markings suggesting Iranian involvement, Dabbagh said: "We don't have that kind of evidence... If there is hard evidence we will defend the country."

Dabbagh said an Iraqi parliamentary delegation which visited Iran last week had useful discussions with authorities there and secured assurances of support and understanding of the crisis.

"They talked frankly about the fears and concerns in Iraq," he told reporters at a news conference in the tightly guarded Green Zone of Baghdad where the Iraqi government and the US embassy are located.

He stressed that Iraq was keen to have better relations with Iran and did not want another conflict.

But the evidence seems very compelling. And the denial by Iran does not include training of Iraqi militias by their proxies:

There has been debate among experts about the extent to which Iran is responsible for instability in Iraq. But President Bush and other American officials, in public castigations of Iran, have said that Iran has been consistently meddlesome in Iraq and that the Iranians have long sought to arm and train Iraqi militias, which the American military has called "special groups."

In a possible effort to be less obtrusive, it appears that Iran is now bringing small groups of Iraqi Shiite militants to camps in Iran, where they are taught how to do their own training, American officials say.

The militants then return to Iraq to teach comrades how to fire rockets and mortars, fight as snipers or assemble explosively formed penetrators, a particularly lethal type of roadside bomb made of Iranian components, according to American officials. The officials describe this approach as "training the trainers."

The implied mandate of the militiamen is to kill Americans. That kind of training is not meant to teach militiamen to kill Iraqis.

Rumors abound in Washington of a planned strike by the United States against these training camps as well as factories that make the IED's and perhaps even the headquarters of the "Special Groups" - the Revolutionary Guard's Qods Force - to punish the Iranians for their interference. For the moment, however, it appears that the US is giving the Iraqis an opportunity to deal diplomatically with the problem. That may change if the Iraqi government can't keep the Iranians from meddling in their country.