CNN: U.S. suspects Iranian hand in Karbala killings of American soldiers; Update: Odierno says U.S. has proof of Iran arming militias
posted at 12:37 am on January 31, 2007 by Allahpundit
The Pentagon is investigating whether a recent attack on a military compound in Karbala was carried out by Iranians or Iranian-trained operatives, two officials from separate U.S. government agencies said.
“People are looking at it seriously,” one of the officials said…
Both officials stressed the Iranian-involvement theory is a preliminary view, and there is no final conclusion. They agreed this possibility is being looked at because of the sophistication of the attack and the level of coordination.
“This was beyond what we have seen militias or foreign fighters do,” the second official said.
Fox says Gen. Caldwell was planning to hold a press conference about it tomorrow but that it’s been pushed back — for a very interesting reason:
One military official pointed to recent anti-Ahmadinejad comments coming from inside Iran — including from former President Mohammad Khatami who has urged a reduction in tensions with the United States — as an indication that Ahmadinejad may already be under growing domestic pressure. Given that, there is some feeling that now may not be the best time for the U.S. to be making a public case against the Iranian leader without risking an anti-U-S backlash.
That reference to a backlash is slightly ambiguous. A backlash among the Iranian people that will rally them to Ahmadinejad’s side? Or a backlash from Ahmadinejad himself that will lead him to do something rash that he hopes will rally the Iranian people to his side? Either way, it goes right back to the post I wrote this afternoon about how the regime’s present weakness, ironically, counsels against confronting it. Check it out if you haven’t yet, especially the excerpt from Robert Baer’s piece in Time. He’s hearing the same thing Roggio and CNN are about Iranian fingerprints in Karbala. As is the boss.
Update: Nothing yet from Caldwell, but Gen. Odierno points the finger in an interview with USA Today.
Iran is supplying Iraqi militias with a variety of powerful weapons including Katyusha rockets, the No. 2 U.S. general in Iraq said Tuesday.
“We have weapons that we know through serial numbers … that trace back to Iran,” Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno said in an interview with USA TODAY…
Most weapons supplied by Iran end up in the hands of Shiite extremists, Odierno said.
He said the weapons include:
•The RPG-29, a rocket-propelled grenade that can fire armor-piercing rounds. It is larger and more sophisticated than the RPG-7 more commonly found in Iraq.
•Katyusha rockets, so large they are generally fired from trucks.
•Powerful roadside bombs, known as explosively formed projectiles, which can pierce armor. The technological know-how and “some of the elements to make them are coming out of Iran,” Odierno said.