James Forsyth

Iran’s role in Iraq

Iran's role in Iraq
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This week’s Time has an important piece on Iran’s role in training, funding and arming the insurgency in Iraq. What one Shiite fighter told Time illustrates just how much Iran is responsible for the levels of violence in Iraq:

“Ali's own training in Iran came in late 2005, when he says he and a group of roughly 14 other Iraqis drove to the southern city of Amarah, near the Iranian border. Everything had been arranged through contacts in Syria and Lebanon, where he and his group had fled for a time trying to avoid capture by American forces. According to Ali, a convoy of new sport utility vehicles with drivers speaking only broken Arabic was waiting for them in Amarah. Soon the group was on the road east for a five-hour drive. The destination was an Iranian training facility, where instructors told the recruits not to speak to anyone but them. "We saw a lot of really strange people, a lot of men wearing very long beards," Ali says.

Ali and four others were given training in advance explosives with both lectures and hands-on practice. The course was done in 45 days. At the end, a handler talked to each of them separately and gave them a phone number to call in Iraq. Ali was given $10,000 in cash, he said, with a handler telling him the money was meant to support his efforts.

"I was shocked," says Ali, who sat for an interview with TIME on the southern outskirts of Baghdad. "I never dreamed I would hold $10,000 in my hands." The starter money, however, was only a "drop in the sea." Ali says he continues to phone for funds with the contacts he made in Iran and that his group has conducted two successful roadside bomb attacks against American forces operating north of Baghdad.” This should give pause to those who argue that the Iran problem is the Bush administration not Iran. Tehran’s willingness to hand-off weapons to terrorists despite the risk of them being traced back to Iran shows just why Iran can not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon. 

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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