Israelis secretly arm Iraqis, Iran gets blamed
The United States accused Iran Thursday of being a major destabilizing force in Iraq, accusing Tehran of training and arming insurgent groups and using "surrogates" to carry out terrorist strikes.However . . .
"It's decidedy unhelpful," the top US commander in Iraq, General George Casey, told reporters at a Pentagon news conference with US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Casey said that he had NO EVIDENCE of Iranians actually in Iraq directing attacks against Iraqis or US forces, but said that he assumed elements in Tehran were guiding the process.I wonder why he assumes it's Iran?
"We are quite confident that the Iranians . . . are providing weapons, IED technology and training to Shi'a extremist groups in Iraq" [he said].Isn't it possible that some OTHER nation might be secretly arming Iraqis?
"They are using surrogates to conduct terrorist operations in Iraq both against us and against the Iraqi people," he said.
Improvised Explosive Devices like road-side bombs are among the most commonly used methods to attack US forces in Iraq.
Israel is one of the world's leading weapons exporters. Deals must be cleared through the Defense Ministry, but in past years there have been a number of cases of ex-army officers negotiating deals on their own, or taking on military training missions in foreign countries without approval.So, if they're arming Kurds, who's to say they're not arming others in Iraq?
In December, an investigative report by another daily, Yediot Ahronot, alleged that a number of private Israeli companies won contracts to provide security services to the Kurdish government in Iraq. The report said Israelis who had served in elite military combat units were teaching anti-terrorism methods to the Kurds.
At the time the Defense Ministry said, "we haven't allowed Israelis to work in Iraq, and each activity, if performed, was a private initiative, without our authorization, and is under the responsibility of the employers and the employees involved."* * *
The Haaretz daily said Thursday that an Israeli businessman living in the United States and a Swiss firm operating in Israel, are suspected of selling security equipment and training courses to Kurds in northern Iraq.
Reaction was not immediately available from the Kurdish government.
To those who blame me for unfairly scrutinizing Israeli conduct - explain this one, please.