Another “We know what they are doing and it needs to stop” Alert. (And if they don’t stop, when will someone stop them?) “U.S. forces tracking Iranians in Iraq,” by Kim Gamel for the Associated Press:
BAGHDAD – American forces are tracking about 50 members of an elite Iranian force who have crossed the border into southern Iraq to train Shiite militia fighters, a top U.S. general said Sunday. The French foreign minister, meanwhile, arrived in Baghdad on a groundbreaking visit after years of icy relations with the United States over Iraq.
Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, whose command includes the volatile southern rim of Baghdad and districts to the south, said his troops are tracking about 50 members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps in their area — the first detailed allegation that Iranians have been training fighters within Iraq’s borders.
“We know they’re here and we target them as well,” he said, citing intelligence reports as evidence of their presence.
He declined to be more specific and said no Iranian forces have been arrested in his territory.
“We’ve got about 50 of those,” he said, referring to the Iranian forces. “They go back and forth. There’s a porous border.”
The military has stepped up allegations against Iran in recent weeks, saying it supplies militants with arms and training to attack U.S. forces.
Iran denies the allegations and says it supports efforts to stop the violence.
Lynch, whose mission is to block the flow of weapons and fighters into the Baghdad area, said Sunni and Shiite extremists have become increasingly aggressive this month, trying to influence the debate in Washington before a pivotal progress report on
He singled out the Shiite extremists as being behind rising attacks using armor-piercing explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, which he said were largely assembled in Iraq from parts smuggled in from Iran. He also noted a marked increase in Iranian-rockets that have been increasingly effective against U.S. bases.
There has been an overall decrease in attacks against U.S. and Iraqi forces, as well as civilians, south of Baghdad, but 46 percent of those were being carried out by Shiite extremists, Lynch said.
“The real difference now is we’ve got to spend as much time fighting the Shia extremists as Sunni extremists,” he said.