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Old 08-18-2008, 10:41 PM
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Exclamation Terror is where you make it: Iraq's Shia extremists 'trained in Iran by Hizbollah'

Terror is where you make it: Iraq's Shia extremists 'trained in Iran by Hizbollah'


Saturday, 16 August 2008 The Daily Telegraph

Iraq's Shia extremists are being trained in four locations inside Iran and are planning to return to assassinate officials in Baghdad, according to US military intelligence.

By Our Foreign Staff

A senior American officer said that captured militia fighters and other sources in Iraq had confirmed suspicions that members of Iran's elite Quds force and members of the Lebanese militia Hizbollah were training their fellow Shia Muslims from Iraq to create more so-called "special groups" of fighters.

The US officer told the Associated Press that he had provided Iraq's national security adviser with several lists of the assassination teams' expected targets. He said they include several judges and specific politicians, but did not identify who they were.

The training is also intended to equip the insurgents for the daily clashes with Iraqi and American forces.

Iraq's intelligence service is preparing operations to determine where and when the special group fighters will enter the country and is to provide an assessment to Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, the US officer said.

He acknowledged that disclosing the information was an attempt to put pressure on Iran to suspend the training and prevent the militia fighters from returning to Iraq. The US military also wants the Iraqi government to take steps to protect the targets. "Wanted" posters picturing men believed to be heading the special groups are being posted around Baghdad, the military officer said.

The US also is encouraging the Iraqi government to confront Tehran with the information in diplomatic channels

The fighters, who are not expected to deploy in Basra which British forces oversee, are said to be due to return to Iraq by October.

Cell leaders of the special groups are being trained in Tehran, the officer said, while their footsoldiers are taken to separate camps for indoctrination.

They are reported to be undergoing intensive training in the use of increasingly sophisticated roadside bombs as well as the same rocket-propelled grenade launchers used by the Quds force and Hizbollah.

Iran & Hezbollah training Iraqi hit squads: US military



Saturday, 16 August 2008

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Iraqi assassination squads are being trained in Iran by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force and Lebanese Hezbollah for attacks in Iraq, a US military official said Friday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Shiite "special groups" were being trained in Qom, Tehran, Mashad and Ahvaz in assassination and bombing techniques to target specific Iraqis as well as US troops and Iraqi security forces.

"We have intelligence reports confirming Iranian-sponsored groups are planning to return back to Iraq and are targeting specific coalition forces, ISF (Iraqi Security Forces) and Iraqi citizens," the official said.

The intelligence, if it proves out, raises the prospect of a deadly new security challenge at a time when the US military is hoping to make further cuts in its forces.

The official, who spoke from Iraq, said the information has been turned over to the Iraqi government "and they are taking the lead in handling the situation."

The groups were being trained in "reconnaissance, small arms, small unit tactics, cellular operations, EFPs and other IEDs, RPGs and assassination techniques," the official said.

EFPs, which stands for explosively formed projectiles, are armor-piercing bombs that have proven highly effective against US armored vehicles. The US military charges that components for the bombs are made in Iran.

The official said the special groups were being deployed to carry out "terrorist acts" against specific individuals as well as US and Iraqi forces.
The special groups have been associated in the past with radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi army, but the official would not link those being trained to Sadr.

Among the Iraqi groups identified as involved in the training were Kitaib Hezbollah, which he described as a criminal group supported by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard that has claimed a number of sophisticated attacks since 2005.

The official identified a second Iraqi group as As Said Al-Haq.
"They are being trained by Quds Force under the leadership of Qassim Suleimani and Lebanese Hezbollah," the official said.

The US military many times in the past have accused Iran of fomenting violence in neighboring Iraq, supplying Shiite groups with arms and training for attacks on US forces.

But the violence has fallen off sharply in the wake of a US surge strategy that helped turn Sunni tribes against Al-Qaeda and Iraq's Shiite led government against Shiite militias and the so-called special groups.
US military officials have said many special group leaders fled to Iran, but were believed to be biding their time for a return.

Also contributing to the drop in violence has been a unilateral cease-fire declared a year ago by al-Sadr, who the US military believes is in Iran.
Sadr announced in June that he would replace the 60,000-strong Mahdi Army with a smaller fighting force to target the US-led occupation.

US: Quds, Hezbollah training Iraqi militia in Iran



The Associated Press

By PAMELA HESS

WASHINGTON (AP) — Iraqi Shiite assassination teams are being trained in at least four locations in Iran by Tehran's elite Quds force and Lebanese Hezbollah and are planning to return to Iraq in the next few months to kill specific Iraqi officials as well as U.S. and Iraqi troops, according to intelligence gleaned from captured militia fighters and other sources in Iraq. (Ah, Muslim training Muslim to murder other Muslims how Islamic!!!!)

A senior U.S. military intelligence officer in Baghdad described the information Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence.

The officer on Wednesday provided Iraq's national security adviser with several lists of the assassination teams' expected targets. He said the targets include many judges but would not otherwise identify them. Iraq's intelligence service is preparing operations to determine where and when the special group fighters will enter the country and is to provide an assessment to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The U.S. official acknowledged disclosing the information in an attempt to pressure Iran to suspend the training and prevent the militia fighters from returning to Iraq. The U.S. military also wants the Iraqi government to take steps to protect the targets. "Wanted" posters picturing men believed to be heading the special groups are being posted around Baghdad, the military officer said.

The U.S. also is encouraging the Iraqi government to confront Iran with the information in diplomatic channels, and it wants Iraq to continue pumping money into its own reconstruction. By building stability and Iraqis' confidence in their government, internal support for militia groups should decline, making it more difficult for them to operate.

The fighters are expected to return to Iraq between now and October, but the officer said there's no intelligence suggesting they are actually in Iraq yet. The information came from militia fighters captured in Iraq and other sources in the country that the officer would not describe.

Many of the fighters fled to Iran this spring after Iraqi government forces cracked down first on militia sanctuaries in Basra and Baghdad's Sadr City district, then in Amarah and now in Diyala province, the military officer said.

One of the reasons the U.S. believes the special groups moved out during that period is the sharp decline in the number of deadly roadside bombs bearing Iran's signature explosive design. In March, there were 55 such attacks. By July, that number had dropped to 17 and by August 13 there had been just four, according to U.S. military charts obtained by The AP. U.S. intelligence believes those sophisticated bombs can be traced back to Iran. The military counts 446 of them so far this year; 178 of them were found and disabled before they could explode.

Iran, Hezbollah's benefactor, denies giving any support to Shiite extremists in Iraq.

The officer said training is going on in at least four locations in Iran: Qom, Tehran, Ahvaz and Mashhad. The number of "special group criminals" — the U.S. name for Iraqi fighters sponsored by Iran — is unknown but is estimated in the hundreds and possibly more than 1,000.

According to the officer, the training camps are operating under the direction of Quds force commander Brig. Gen. Ghassem Soleimani, with the knowledge and approval of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The elite Quds Force is a branch of Iran's Revolutionary Guard.

The training includes how to conduct reconnaissance to pinpoint targets, small arms and weapons training, small unit tactics and terrorist cell operations and communications. They are also learning how to use bombs packed with explosive penetrators that can rip through U.S. armored vehicles, along with other improvised explosive devices and rocket-propelled grenades, including the RPG-29 used by Lebanese Hezbollah and the Quds force. They are also receiving training on assassination techniques, employing RPGs, small arms or explosives, the officer said.

Lebanese Hezbollah conducts much of the training in the camps because they speak Arabic. Iranians are Persian and speak Farsi. Lebanese Hezbollah also has credibility with the Iraqis, given the successful 2006 uprising in Lebanon, the officer said. The U.S. officer said there are no confirmed reports of Lebanese Hezbollah members crossing into Iraq. It is not clear what time period he was referring to.

Last year, the U.S. military reported capturing in Basrah Ali Mussa Dakdouk, an alleged Lebanese Hezbollah guerrilla leader. Iraqi Shiite lawmakers and a top Iraqi army officer told the AP last month that Hezbollah trainers were running training camps in southern Iraq until April, when they were pushed into Iran by the Iraqi crackdown.

The trainees in the Iranian camps include three Iraqis already wanted by the Iraqi government for terrorist attacks: Haji Mahdi, Haji Thamir and Baqir al Sa'idi, the officer said. He identified two Iraqi Shiite militia groups in Iran by name: "The League of the Righteous," or "Asaib al Haq," and the "Kataib al Hezbollah."

Foot soldiers and cell leaders are physically separated for most of the training, the officer said. Leaders are trained in Tehran and cell members are in separate camps where Quds trainers attempt to indoctrinate them without competition from their Iraqi leaders.

The "special group criminals" are offshoots of cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Jaysh al-Mahdi militia. They spun off their own groups after al-Sadr declared a cease-fire with the Iraqi government in August 2007 and are not thought to be under his control now.
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Last edited by Paparock; 08-18-2008 at 10:55 PM..
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