Iraqi insurgents receiving new weapons from Iran, U.S. military chief says

( LatWp ) - The chief U.S. military spokesman in Iraq asserted that Iranian-made arms manufactured as recently as last year have reached Sunni insurgents here, marking, if true, a new development in the four-year-old conflict.

Citing testimony from detainees in U.S. custody, Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said Iranian intelligence operatives were backing Sunni militants in Iraq while at the same time training Shiite extremists in Iran.

``We have, in fact, found some cases recently where Iranian intelligence services have provided to some Sunni insurgent groups some support,'' Caldwell told reporters, adding that he was aware of only Shiite extremists being trained inside Iran. Caldwell cited a collection of munitions on a nearby table that he said were made in Iran and found two days ago in a majority Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad.

Khalil Sadati, media adviser for the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad, denied his government was backing militant groups inside Iraq. ``There's no such thing.'' said Sadati. ``Why don't you ask the Americans why they continue to make accusations without any evidence?''

For months, U.S. officials have alleged that Iranian entities have provided Shiite militias with weapons, including potent roadside bombs the military calls ``EFPs,'' or explosively former penetrators, that have killed dozens of U.S. soldiers. Wednesday marked the first time that U.S. officials have claimed that Sunni insurgents were also receiving arms from Iran.

It was unclear what motivation Iran, a Shiite theocracy, would have for backing Sunni insurgents, many of whom are staunchly anti-Iranian and fear the rise of Shiite power in the region. Critics have dismissed the U.S. claims, saying that evidence provided so far gives no solid proof that Iran has supplied weapons to Iraqi militants.

Wednesday's allegations arrive at a particularly tense period for U.S-Iranian relations. The U.S. military has in custody five Iranian nationals that U.S. officials claim had entered Iraq to foment violence against U.S. soldiers and Iraqis, but whom the Iranians say are diplomats. An Iranian diplomat who was released from captivity inside Iraq last week says that he was tortured by the Central Intelligence Agency. He was abducted by unknown gunmen Feb. 4 on a downtown Baghdad street.

``The CIA had no role in this individual's release or capture. And allegations that he was tortured by the agency are ludicrous,'' spokesman Mark Mansfield said Wednesday from CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.

Caldwell also painted a mixed picture of the violence in Iraq eight weeks into a security plan intended to quell violence in the capital. From January to March, civilian deaths dropped 26 percent in Baghdad, he said. But violence surged in many areas outside the capital, resulting in a rise in civilian deaths across Iraq over the same period. Most of the victims were killed by car bombs and suicide bombers, he said.

From February, when the security plan was launched, to March, the total number of deaths--civilians, Iraqi security forces and U.S. troops--rose by 10 percent, he said. ``What does this mean? It means that we still have a lot of work to do,'' said Caldwell. ``The goal of these murderers is to ignite a cycle of violence. They want to murder people of one sect to try to provoke revenge killings, so that this country will be divided and weak.''

Also Wednesday, the International Committee of the Red Cross called for ``urgent action'' to better protect Iraqi civilians from the ongoing violence. The call came as the group released a report on the ``deteriorating humanitarian situation in Iraq.''

Caldwell said an Iraqi man turned up two days ago at a neighborhood security outpost in the predominantly Sunni al-Jihad neighborhood and tipped off soldiers to the munitions allegedly made in Iran. He directed them to a house, and upon arriving, the soldiers spotted a black Mercedes sedan, said Caldwell. The arms, including mortars and rockets, were inside the car and its trunk, as well as buried on the property. The house was empty, he said.

Several mortar rounds on display at the news conference had markings that read ''2006,'' suggesting they were manufactured--and had arrived in Iraq--after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. The markings on all the munitions were in English. Maj. Marty Weber, an explosives expert, said that countries selling arms on the global market tend to use English lettering.

``The death and violence in Iraq are bad enough without this outside interference,'' said Caldwell. `` Iran and all of Iraq's neighbors really need to respect Iraq's sovereignty and allow the people of this country the time and the space to choose their own future.''

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for January 16
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for January 16
Iran president eases COVID curbs as deaths fall
Iran president eases COVID curbs as deaths fall
5.0-magnitude quake jolts eastern Iran
5.0-magnitude quake jolts eastern Iran
Loading Bars
Latest
Let’s talk stress-free exams: PM Narendra Modi on ‘Pariksha Pe Charcha’
Djokovic flies out of Australia after losing court appeal
Vaccination added great strength to fight against Covid: Indian PM
Azerbaijan's patience not unlimited: on demarcation of borders and Armenia's attempts to play for time
French parliament approves vaccine pass
Speaker of Montenegrin Parliament arrives on official visit to Azerbaijan (PHOTO)
Erdogan visits Albania in first trip abroad in 2022
COVID-19: new 900 cases registered in Uzbekistan
$2.7b of goods exported to Persian Gulf regional countries: Iran's official
India’s stance on Nepal boundary well known, consistent & unambiguous: Embassy
Oil India exits US shale venture, sells 20% stake for $25 million
Construction of new road and tunnel near Georgian-Russian border will be completed by 2024
Dutch FMO reveals details of investing in Uzbekistan's economy, ties with banks
Nearly 150 civilians, over 10 law enforcers killed in riots in Almaty
Delhi weekend curfew, restrictions helped mitigate Covid spread: Health Minister
Over 1,300 weapons stolen during riots in Almaty
Gunmen kill more than 50 in Nigeria's northwest, residents say
Magnitude 5.3 earthquake shakes western Turkey's Gokceada
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price continues to fall
How women health workers took India’s Covid vaccination programme to remote corners
Azerbaijan’s self-sufficiency in wheat reaches 60%
Iran discloses volume of citrus fruits to be harvested in country
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 808 more COVID-19 cases, 369 recoveries
PCR test requirement for flights continues
Azerbaijani Mortgage and Credit Guarantee Fund sets limits for preferential mortgage loans by banks in 2022
Azerbaijan discloses GDP growth for 2021
Weekly review of main events of Azerbaijani financial market
Child killed, 4 wounded in roadside bomb blast east of Afghan capital
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for January 16
Weekly review of main events in Azerbaijani transport sector
Iran eyes increase in trade turnover with Russia
Azerbaijani MFA comments on Armenian side’s allegations about alleged "pogroms"
Azerbaijan’s economy growing sustainably
Jordan army officer killed in shooting along border with Syria
Over 139 mln coronavirus vaccine shots given in Turkey to date
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on January 16
Azerbaijan is of great regional and global importance - American Jewish Committee
Azerbaijani Defense Ministry presents weekly review (VIDEO)
Georgia publishes COVID-19 data for January 16
National Bank of Georgia shares data on liabilities to non-residents
Kyrgyzstan logs 874 new COVID-19 cases
Iranian currency rates for January 16
Britain will no longer require COVID tests for fully vaccinated travellers
Argentina's COVID-19 tally surpasses 7,000,000
All synagogue hostages "out alive and safe" in U.S. Texas (UPDATE)
Russia, West are ‘on totally different tracks’ - Kremlin spokesman
Restoration work in liberated areas - foundation to Azerbaijan's further development
Philippines finalises deal to acquire missile system from India for $375 mn
Czech president opposes abuse of Olympic idea for political aims
Turkey confirms 63,967 daily COVID-19 cases
England opens COVID booster jab programme to 16- and 17-year olds
AICTE, 5ire partner to launch the world's biggest happiness blockchain
US hopes to continue security dialogue with Russia - Department of State
French 2021 budget deficit seen lower than expected at 7% of GDP -minister
Migrant caravan leaves Honduras en route to U.S.
Piyush Goyal suggests 5-point reform agenda for FCI
Omicron detected in Beijing as China battles COVID-19 clusters
UK seven-day COVID-19 infections down 33% on week before
Under pandemic cloud, 24k people to attend R-Day parade with protocols
Iran president eases COVID curbs as deaths fall
Covid-19 India highlights: India logs over 2.6 lakh cases, 402 deaths in a day
Apple to require employee proof of COVID-19 booster
Azerbaijan hands over one more citizen who got lost back to Armenia
Passenger vehicle dispatches slide 13% in December on chip shortage: SIAM
Israeli finance minister tests positive for coronavirus
We welcome beginning of Turkish-Armenian contacts - Deputy FM of Azerbaijan
Tsunami recorded in southwestern Japan, with waves of about 1.2 meters
20 attacks on healthcare facilities were committed during riots in Kazakhstan - Ministry of Health
CSTO peacekeepers will be withdrawn from Kazakhstan until January 19
10th century idol discovered in England, handed over to India
"Red level" of terrorist threat remains in three regions of Kazakhstan
Opening of Zangazur corridor to create new opportunities for region - Analysis
Representative delegation of Afghanistan arrived in Turkmenistan (PHOTO)
225 people die as result of riots in Kazakhstan
Azerbaijan to hold Technofest festival in 2022
Uzbekistan’s GDP grew by 7.4% in 2021 – President
Turkey eyes $35 billion in tourism revenues in 2022
Georgian Ministry of Health reduces quarantine period for fully vaccinated
Azerbaijan to hold auction for privatizing state properties
Baku Metro to receive four more new trains
Iran’s MOGPC could resume maximum crude oil extraction in short time
5.0-magnitude quake jolts eastern Iran
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price dips
IED found at Ghazipur flower market; defused, says report
Azerbaijan to hold Second Karabakh Economic Forum in 2022
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for January 15
World Bank continues digital development in Georgia
Turkmenistan considering purchasing road construction equipment from John Deere
Russia reports record high of 27,179 daily coronavirus cases since December 19
Georgia records drop in number of visitors from Turkmenistan
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 710 more COVID-19 cases, 260 recoveries
Former vice-minister of energy of Kazakhstan detained
Russian Rosselkhoznadzor expands list of livestock product suppliers to Uzbek market
Turkish company to build hybrid power plant in Turkmenistan
LUKOIL Uzbekistan Operating LLC opens tender for examination of calculations of production
President of Kazakhstan instructs to reform national security systems
Azerbaijan's offshore wind energy potential 20 times higher than installed capacity – deputy minister
Azerbaijan, Turkey eye holding joint digital transformation forum in late 2022
All news