Although Iran publicly claims it supports stability and security in Iraq, evidence continues to show Iran is playing a destructive role there.
Iraqi Brigadier General Sabah Al Fatlawi, police chief in the province of Dhi Qar, recently told the Agence France Presse news agency that Shiite extremist forces, known as Special Groups, are being trained by Iran to use bomb-laden motorcycles. “The Special Groups are returning from Iran after receiving training in using new tactics,” he said. “We have seized 20 motorcycle bombs in [the provincial capital of] Nassirya. Some groups have arrived in Nassiriya.”
U.S. Army Lieutenant General Lloyd Austin, Commander of the Multinational Corps-Iraq, also spoke of the support Iran is giving the Special Groups. After a push by coalition forces in the south of Iraq, many of the Special Groups’ leaders fled to Iran, said General Austin:
“We believe they went into Iran for additional resourcing and training. And we expect that many of them will try to come back. As a matter of fact, some of them have begun to try to come back. And we’ve been fairly successful in policing up a number of them off the battlefield.”
General Austin says coalition forces have dealt “considerable blows” to the network of lethal weapons the Special Groups have put in place in Iraq. He spoke of one recent blow that involved a find of Iranian-made weapons components:
“One of our patrols discovered a significant cache south of the town of Salman Pak. It contained over 400 pounds of C-4 explosive and over 2,300 explosively formed penetrator components. This was a major storage facility of EFP [explosively formed penetrator] material, and its capture will greatly disrupt Special Groups’ criminals ability to conduct future attacks in Baghdad and in other parts of the south.”
U.S. forces were tipped off to the location of the hidden cache of weapons by local Iraqis. It seems Iraqi citizens are not willing to put up with the kind of “support” Iran is offering in Iraq.