The U.S. presence in Iraq is helping Sunnis and Shi’ites overcome their differences, but not in the way Condoleeza Rice hoped. And once the U.S. leaves Iraq, those resources now being spent on jihad against the the U.S., Israel, and the West in general will be much more occupied instead by the Sunni-Shi’ite jihad in Iraq.
“U.S. suspects that Iran aids both Sunni and Shiite militias,” by Alissa J. Rubin for the New York Times:
BAGHDAD, April 11 “” Arms that American military officials say appear to have been manufactured in Iran as recently as last year have turned up in the past week in a Sunni-majority area, the chief spokesman for the American military command in Iraq said Wednesday in a news conference.
The spokesman, Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, said that detainees in American custody had indicated that Iranian intelligence operatives had given support to Sunni insurgents and that surrogates for the Iranian intelligence service were training Shiite extremists in Iran. He gave no further description of the detainees and did not say why they would have that information.
“We have in fact found some cases recently where Iranian intelligence sources have provided to Sunni insurgent groups some support,” said General Caldwell, who sat near a table crowded with weapons that he said the military contended were largely of Iranian
The weapons were found in a mostly Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad, he said, a rare instance of the American military suggesting any link between Iran and the Sunni insurgency. It has recently suggested a link with Shiite militants in Iraq.
The accusation of a link between the Iranian intelligence service and Sunni Arab insurgents is new. The American military has contended in the past that elements in Iran have given Shiite militants powerful Iranian-made roadside bombs known as explosively formed penetrators, and training in their use.
Critics have cast doubt on the American military statements about those bombs, saying the evidence linking them to Iran was circumstantial and inferential.
The weapons displayed on Wednesday were more conventional, and officials pointed to markings on them that they said indicated Iranian manufacture.
In his statement, General Caldwell renewed American contentions that Iran was not doing enough to stop weapons from being moved into Iraq from outside.
It is unclear from the military”s comments on Wednesday whether it is possible to draw conclusions about how the weapons that the military contends are of Iranian origin might have made their way into a predominantly Sunni area or why Shiite Iran would arm Sunni
There are several possibilities, military officials who were not authorized to speak publicly for attribution said privately. One is that they came through Syria, long a transit route for Iranian-made weapons being funneled to the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah. Another possibility is that arms dealers are selling to every side in the conflict.
The weapons on the table next to General Caldwell were found two days ago, the general said, after a resident of the predominantly Sunni Arab neighborhood called Jihad, in western Baghdad, informed the local Joint Security Station run by Iraqi and
American soldiers that there were illegal arms in the area.
The neighborhood association might consider changing the name to “Inner Spiritual Struggle” for PR purposes.