Tuesday, November 27, 2007

As Overall Violence in Iraq Dwindles, Iran Increases Their Tempo

Any suggestion that Iran's Khomeneist theocracy is stepping back the violence in Iraq by its proxies, the so-called "special groups," is belied by facts on the ground. A little over a week ago, a special group killed and injured scores of civilians when they bombed a market in Baghdad, attempting to disguise it as an al-Qaeda attack. And a few days ago, several hundred thousand Shia in southern Iraq signed a formal petition expressing their outrage at the violence Iran is causing in their areas as Iran attempts to extend its influence. Now this today:

. . . Shiite extremists using weapons linked to Iran have risen to their highest levels in months in and around Baghdad's Shiite enclave of Sadr City, despite a 75 percent decline since May in overall violence in the area.

"I remain very concerned in our sector about these special groups," Col. Don Farris, the top U.S. commander for northeastern Baghdad, told reporters by videoconference. "They're very lethal. They're organized. They're sophisticated. And I have not seen that their operations have declined or diminished in any way, shape or form here in the last several months."

In October, Farris said, his 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division experienced the highest number of attacks using the armor-piercing explosively formed projectiles linked to Iran since arriving in February. The spike -- nine attacks, compared with the previous high of seven -- comes despite suggestions by U.S. officials that Iran has curbed its support of fighters in Iraq.

"These are the Iranian-made weapons that are being employed by these special groups, these Shia extremists that are receiving funding, support and training from Iran," Farris said, adding that the special groups "operate from within the heart of Sadr City."

In the past six weeks, he said, the brigade has captured two Iraqi operatives, one of whom admitted to receiving training in Iran. A U.S. base in the area was also attacked this month by bombs using 107mm rockets and explosives, which Farris said were of the same types as those made in Iran.

Read the story here. And here is more information on the "special groups" from the Long War Journal:

Background on Iranian influence in Iraq and the targeting of the Special Groups

Coalition forces began targeting the Iranian networks and captured senior members of Iran's Qods Force in Baghdad in December 2006 and Irbil in January 2007. Iranian surrogates — the Qazali and Sheibani networks now collectively referred to as the Special Groups — stepped up their attacks on Iraqi and Coalition forces in January 2007.

In January 2007, the Qazali network conducted sophisticated operations against US forces at the Karbala Joint Provincial Coordination Center, kidnapping and killing five US soldiers during the aborted operation. Multinational Forces Iraq has stated Iran is behind the Karbala raid, and satellite imagery discovered a mock-up of the Karbala complex at a camp inside Iran. In March 2007, Coalition forces captured Qais Qazali, his brother Laith Qazali, and several other members of the Qazali network. Qais Qazali was a spokesperson and senior aide to Muqtada al Sadr. Coalition and Iraqi security forces have been heavily targeting these "Special Groups" and "Secret Cells" since General David Petraeus' briefing on the Qazali and Sheibani networks on April 26.

In July, US forces captured Azhar al Dulaimi, the tactical commander behind the Karbala PJCC attack. In early September 2007, Multinational Forces Iraq announced the captured of “a highly-sought individual suspected of being an Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps-Qods Force” operative in Karbala.

One of the most significant captures occurred in the spring of 2007, when the US captured Ali Mussa Daqduq. Daqduq is a senior Hezbollah operative who was tasked by Iran to organize the Special Groups and "rogue" Mahdi Army cells along the lines of Lebanese Hezbollah. Documents seized during Daqduq's capture, along with statements made during interrogations and information given by other captured Special Groups operatives confirmed Iran's significant role in the Shia terrorist insurgency.

On September 20, Multinational Forces Iraq captured Mahmud Farhadi, an Iranian Qods Force officer in charge of the Zafr Command. Farhadi commanded one of three units subordinate to the Ramazan Corps of the Qods Force, which commands the operations in Iraq.

On October 7, General David Petraeus said the Iranian ambassador to Iraq is a Qods Force intelligence agent.

Read the article here. Iran's Khomeinist theocracy wants to extend its influence over Iraq's Shia population. They do not want a democracy to succeed in Iraq and they do not want a continued American presence protecting Iraq. The violence they are formenting is aimed at extending their influence, rekindling Sunni-Shia violence, and attacking the U.S. How long before we "make a statement" that these continued actions carry a greater penalty for Iran than the long term possibility for gain? Iran's theocracy has to be made to pay a price or this will not end.

No comments: