First up, the Irish Independent which has a report that Pakistani officials gave missile parts to the Taliban as recently as four months ago.
US AND Nato forces are following up reports that the Taliban has received vital component parts for shoulder-fired Stinger missiles from Pakistani officials enabling them to be used against helicopters in Afghanistan.Which leads me to speculate (again) that Pakistan, denials notwithstanding, is keen to play every side against every other as long as it gains Musharraf a while longer on the throne.
It is claimed that the missiles - originally supplied to the Afghan Mujaheddin by the US during the war against the Russians - have been fitted with new battery packs allegedly provided by the Pakistani intelligence service, ISI, in the last four months.
Western sources say they are not sure whether the supplies, needed to make the American-made missiles operational, were provided by rogue elements within the Pakistani secret service or approved at a high level.
Then there's a Reuters report which, while not saying so outright, hints at some old-fashioned profiteering by American security contractors over the dead bodies of their uniformed colleagues.
An American described as a security contractor has been arrested by police in a northern Iraqi town with weapons in his car, said a provincial official.By Donald Rumsfeld's paranoid version of logic, this "shows" that the American government is arming the insurgency - if that's what you want it to mean. I can just hear the press interview now - "given the oversight America provides of these companies it is hardly likely this is being done outwith government knowledge..."
Abdullah Jebara, the Deputy Governor of Salahaddin province, told Reuters the man was arrested in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit on Monday.
The Joint Coordination Center between the U.S. and Iraqi military in Tikrit said the man it described as a security contractor working for a private company, possessed explosives which were found in his car. It said he was arrested on Tuesday.
So who is arming who?
Here's the facts. Iraq is in chaos, Afghanistan is right alongside it in disorder. The borders of every nation in the area are poreous in the extreme and the smuggling routes from Kashmir to the Mediterrainean are centuries old. Weapons could make their way to Iraq along those routes from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Russia, Lebanon, Syria, Iran or a half dozen other places. Hell, they could make their way through three or four of those countries first. They could originate just about anywhere. Claiming weapons are coming from anywhere in particular with that nation's government's approval is ludicrous unless you find the parts stamped with traceable markings and serial numbers (e.g. the Pakistan story above) or catch proveably official members of that country's military/spooks/etc. in the act.
Anything else is simple speculation and should be treated as such.
Update 15th March
The second story about the American security contractor with explosives has now been changed by the military from it's earlier report.
The spokesman said the man was arrested at a checkpoint in the northern town of Tikrit. He denied initial reports that explosives were found in the car, but said two AK-47 assault rifles were in the vehicle.So why the earleir report about explosives with no guns mentioned and now it's guns but no explosives? I smell a PR coverup. An American providing bombs to the insurgency, days after Bush's Iran IED claim, would just be far too hot to handle.
"He was picked up by Iraqi police after being detained at a checkpoint in Tikrit," the spokesman said, adding police later released him. "We are looking at why he left the base unescorted."
The man was stopped by police for violating a daytime curfew in Tikrit, a security source said.
Note too that this is in the same area as the report I posted on above about possible executions of women and kids by US soldiers. Something is wrong in the area of Tikrit.