Iran -> Shia -> Iraq

Wikileaks has quite recently published several newly-leaked “secret” intelligence reports from the U.S. Army in Iraq, dating from mid to late 2006. They claim that the documents have been “verified”, but I personally take that with a grain of salt.

The most interesting of the bunch is, in my opinion, this one, discussing Iranian influence in (one part of) Iraq. In this regard, the document is as notable for what it says as what it doesn’t say.

Here’s the main part of the report; I’ve added info for some of the acronyms, to make it a little more intelligible:

COA Scimitar continues to be heavily influenced by Iranian entities, particularly SCIRI and BADR Corps. Iranian sympathizers and proponents from the SCIRI Governor SALIM SALIH MAHDI AL MUSLIMAWI and many of his cabinet members continue to perpetuate sectarian policy and steer gubernatorial decisions. This present political climate proves tenuous for neutral, non-sectarian leadership such as GEN Qais Hamza Abood Al-Mamori, the Babil provincial chief of police. MOI reconfiguration coupled with militia infiltration and influence constantly pose a threat to his tenure. Should Qais be ousted by an unqualified vote from the PC, he will fight the decision in the courts. Additionally, as ISF take the lead in securing Babil Province; armed groups such as Mahdi Militia compete with them, desiring to become a legitimate alternative for the public. The addition of the National Police Unit stationed at Camp Charlie further contributes to the stability struggle in southern Babil, as the unit commander is reportedly a former regime leader who was responsible for the murders of many Al Hillah residents. As the coalition force footprint has decreased significantly in southern Babil, AIF freedom of movement will be more prevalent unless IA and IP forces patrolling and operations are significantly improved. Recent incidents such as the civilian PSD shooting a local national and the CF traffic accident which killed one Hillah resident, spark distrust and malice in many residents against the Coalition Forces who remain in COA Scimitar.

SIGNIFICANT REPORTING:

Gawad ((Al-Hassnawi)) and Hamid ((Kanosh)) are members of the Karbala city council who work for Iranian Intelligence. Both Al-Hassnawi and Kanosh are members of the Mahdi Militia in Karbala //mgrscoord:38SMB064092//, IZ. Both Al-Hassnawi and Kanosh are associated with known Mahdi Militia members Ali Aabd ((Taan)) and Mohamed ((Kadhim)). (Field comment: both Taan and Kadhim are confirmed members of a Mahdi Militia explosive formed projectile cell operating in Karbala). Taan and Kadhim occasionaly work as bodyguards for Al-hassnawi and Kanosh.

Al-Hassnawi and Kanosh receive an unknown amount of money from unidentified Iranian intelligence agents. Currently Al-Hassnawi and Kanosh are recruiting members of the Mahdi Militia to receive training in Iran from Iranian intelligence. Mahdi Militia members sent to Iran will receive training in the construction of improvised explosive devices and learn how to conduct assassinations.

Al-Hassnawi lives in the Al Hussein Neighborhood in Karbala. Al-Hassnawi is approximately 40 years old, 177 centimeters tall and weighs 80 kilograms. He has a medium build, black hair, dark brown eyes, thin black beard and mustache, light brown complexion. He usually wears western style clothes and dress suits.

Kanosh lives in the Al Hurr Neighborhood of Karbala and has an office at the Bureau of Security building in Karbala. Kanosh is approximately 38 years old, 180 centimeters tall and weighs 90 kilograms. He has a medium build, black hair, hazel eyes, thin black mustache, and light brown complexion. He usually wears western style clothes and dress suits.

COMMENT: It is no secret that a significant portion of Iraqs politicians and civil servants are affiliated with insurgent organizations. It is also widely speculated that most of the Shia insurgent groups are being funded by Iranian intelligence, which if true is alarming as this nation attempts to maintain its sovereignty. Such situations are clearly fueling sectarian strife and violence, all the while the Iranian government funds the Shia majority. If the Shia were to totally rule Iraq, Iran would more than likely attempt to set up a secular puppet government subservient to Iranian Grand Ayatollah Saane’I, and possibly move or emulate the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala in Iran.

Now, the person or persons who wrote this report chose the language they used, presumably, quite carefully. If you break the whole thing down, you get three basic claims:

One, that COA Scimitar is “influenced by Iranian entities”;

Two, that “Iranian sympathizers” and “proponents” of the local mayor “continue to perpetuate sectarian policy and steer gubernatorial decisions”;

Three, that two members of the city council “work for Iranian intelligence”, are members of the Mahdi Militia”, and associate with other, known members of the Militia, some of whom they “are recruiting to receive training in Iran”.

The first in inarguable, as the “comment” at the end notes; Iran is undoubtedly funding Shia politics in Iraq. From there, the second claim is perfectly logical; “sympathizers” and “proponents” of the mayor are engaged in, let’s face it, politics as usual.

It’s the third claim that is most notable. Claiming that two named city councilmen are members of the Mahdi Militia is plausible; if we assume that’s true, accusing them of associating with other known Mahdi Militia members is pretty well given. (Obviously, there’s a very real danger they’re being branded as members of the Militia merely through association with “known” members, but let’s posit that the military intelligence folks involved here are better than that.) Note the absolute lack of evidence regarding the connection to Iranian intelligence, however: they receive an “unknown amount of money” from “unidentified Iranian intelligence agents”. In the court of law, that sort of thing would be called “hearsay”. That should raise questions about the validity of the claim regarding recruitment, and leaves the whole thing sounding suspiciously like a bit of political character assassination. “Dear Americans, please know that two councilmembers here in Iraq are taking money from Iranian intelligence officials to recruit their fellow Mahdi Militia members to receive special training on killing people and making bombs in Iran. Very sincerely yours, an Iraqi citizen who wishes to remain anonymous.” As well, “Are recruiting” has far less evidential value than “have recruited”; given all the other “known unknowns” in this story, it’s entirely possible that “are recruiting” should be read as “are claimed by one source of indeterminate reliability to be recruiting”…

In short, that whole part of the report stinks to high hell.

I suspect this report, and ones like it, will be used to bolster claims about Iran’s direct involvement in the insurgency in Iraq. If they are, keep in mind that there is no “proof” here, however much some might like to say so, only unsourced, unverifiable claims. Is Iran meddling in Iraqi politics? Almost certainly, for reasons described at the end of the report quoted above. That direct connection between the ruling party in the Iranian government and insurgents in Iraq still remains to be proven in any meaningful way, however.

I’m no fan of Tehran; neither am I a fan of wars predicated on faulty or shoddy intelligence. Conservative hawks have already created one mess of a war on the basis of abysmal unintelligence; it’d be nice if the world didn’t have to suffer the consequences of another such folly – which is exactly what all signs point to a war with Iran being.

Published in: General, History, Security | on May 16th, 2008| Comments Off on Iran -> Shia -> Iraq

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.