Friday, December 01, 2006

Iranian Weapons In Iraq - Deja Vu All Over Again

The rightwing blogs are tearing their P.J.s in manly anger today at a report from ABC News that Iran is providing weapons to the Iraqi Shiite militias.
WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2006 — U.S. officials say they have found smoking-gun evidence of Iranian support for terrorists in Iraq: brand-new weapons fresh from Iranian factories. According to a senior defense official, coalition forces have recently seized Iranian-made weapons and munitions that bear manufacturing dates in 2006.

This suggests, say the sources, that the material is going directly from Iranian factories to Shia militias, rather than taking a roundabout path through the black market. "There is no way this could be done without (Iranian) government approval," says a senior official.

Iranian-made munitions found in Iraq include advanced IEDs designed to pierce armor and anti-tank weapons. U.S. intelligence believes the weapons have been supplied to Iraq's growing Shia militias from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which is also believed to be training Iraqi militia fighters in Iran.
Why I.E.D.s - improvised explosive devices - should have manufacturing dates on them at all isn't made clear in the report, although the report is also unclear on exactly what weapons have been found, what dates, how they know they are Iranian, what is there provenance (where found and by whom) etc. is also unclear. We're simply expected to believe that the Iranians are so machevelian as to foment chaos in Iraq to their own ends but so dumb as not to file the identifiers off the goods. That's the problem with going to press on the say-so of officials who aren't certain enough of their story to attach their names to it.

No matter, the fighting keyboarders are about to leap through their screens to tear the Iranians a new one. A look at the memeorandum aggregator shows the blog post titles proving their righteous warmongering anger.
Captain Ed / Captain's Quarters: Does This Mean War?
Dan / Riehl World View: Next Stop, Iran
Pamela Geller Oshry / Atlas Shrugs: PROOF! IRAN ARMING IRAQI JIHADIS
Bryan / Hot Air: Smoking guns: Iranians backing the Shiite militias
Laurence Simon / this blog is full of crap: We're already at war with Iran
The only trouble is - an almost identical story was put out by ABC back on March 6th. The only variation is these alleged dates.

Back on March 6th, I wrote a post pointing out that I had seen the story before even then - in the UK press in of 2005 - and that it had fizzled turned out the original design for these infamous I.E.D.'s had been handed to the I.R.A. as part of a cack-handed British intelligence sting. The IRA handed the plans to Hezbollah and thence to Iraq - no Iranian involvement. Moreover, it was all puff and no substance. No-one actually came forward with an example of a weapon bearing unmistakable hallmarks of being made in Iran.

The lack of substance didn't stop the uber-rights' blogger army then either. Here's a selection of blog post titles about the story from the memeorandum aggregator of March 7th 2006:
Captain Ed / Captain's Quarters: Iran Gives US A Casus Belli, If We Want It
Dan / Riehl World View: It's Time For War With Iran
Emperor Darth Misha I / Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: Hand Us The Target Co-ords For Tehran
Gina Cobb: Apparently U.S. Is Already at War With Iran — In Iraq
Dafydd / Big Lizards: Casus Belli Against Iran!
Was there ever an excuse for a war these people didn't love?

Since that March 6th article, we've been treated to the commander of the British troops given the task of finding the Iranian weapons being smuggled into iraq telling us that "I suspect there's nothing out there," and to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Peter Pace, admitting he had not a shred of proof that Iran was behind weapons smuggling into Iraq.

Given all of this, color me sceptical. It smells like another "anonymous officials" story plant for the neocon narrative to me. If it isn't then let's see a military ranker with a name stand up on TV and show us the weapons, show us the identifying marks, explain how, where and when they were found and why this means the Iranian government is responsible. Until then, it's warmongering crap.

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