By lex, on July 6th, 2011
Iran is stepping up their nasty little tricks in neighboring Iraq, according to the WaPo:
Iranian-backed militias in Iraq are using more sophisticated weapons than in the past to target U.S. troops and military installations in Iraq, according to senior U.S. officials.
James F. Jeffrey, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, said Tuesday that fresh forensic testing on weapons used in the latest deadly attacks in the country bolsters assertions by U.S. officials that Iran is supporting Iraqi insurgents with new weapons and training.
“We’re not talking about a smoking pistol. There is no doubt this is Iranian,” Jeffrey said in an interview.
“We’re seeing more lethal weapons, more accurate weapons, more longer-range weapons,” Jeffrey added. “And we’re seeing more sophisticated mobile and other deployment options, and we’re seeing better-trained people.”
In some cases, insurgents made no effort to remove from the weapons identification numbers suggesting that they came from Iran, “which in itself is troubling,” Jeffrey said.
In recent weeks, Jeffrey and U.S. military officials have blamed three Shiite militia groups — the Promised Day Brigade, Ahl al-Haq and Kataib Hezbollah — for a wave of violence that resulted in the bloodiest month for U.S. forces here in two years. The groups have been trained and supplied by Iranian Revolutionary Guard special forces, and Iranian special agents have crossed into Iraq to provide some of the training and materials, officials said.
Recently retired US SecDef Robert Gates was widely credited with preventing an attack on Iran that might lead to yet another significant ground front in the GWOT. And while it’s true that the military’s nation building capacity is already stretched to its limits, much of our nation breaking capacity is idling. As an oil exporting country that is hugely reliant on imported processed fuel, Iran is vulnerable at sea and in the air. Just four weeks of the kind of effort undertaken against the strategically meaningless Libyan regime would bring the mullahcracy to its knees and help liberate the creative energies of a rising generation that has no personal memory of the SAVAK, the shah or the revolution.
We have expended enormous sums of blood and treasure rebuilding Iraq, and what happens there as we draw down forces matters. The Iranians simply cannot be trusted to play a useful role. And whether you call it a Global War on Terror, a War Against Violent Extremism or Overseas Contingency Operations, there is little doubt that we have been very much trimming around the edges of the problem rather than digging at its roots. Iran supports terrorists in the Levant who attack a US ally, and the country’s leadership is elbow deep in the blood of US soldiers – it has been for decades.
The counter-argument to a naval blockade and kinetic actions against IRGC targets is that Iran would close the Strait of Hormuz and activate sleeper agents to wreak havoc in the Gulf region and elsewhere. An oil shock could send the trembling US economy reeling back to the brink. But there is a reason we maintain a strategic oil reserve, and the Iranian problem will only get worse as the centrifuges continue to spin at Natanz.
The bottom line comes down to this: Iran is in a de facto state of war with the United States.
There ought to be a reckoning.