Monday, August 20, 2007


Revolutionary Guards believed to be training Shiite militias in s. Iraq

(Gulf News) - About 50 members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards are believed to be training Shiite militias in the use of mortars and rockets in southern Iraq, the general commanding US troops in the area said on Sunday. "We are concerned primarily about the training of Shiite extremists. We think there are about 50 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards," Major-General Rick Lynch, commander of US forces south of Baghdad, told reporters.
Lynch said there had been an increase in "indirect fire attacks" on US forces in his area of command and that rocket attacks were becoming "more accurate and more effective". Washington has accused Shiite Muslim Iran of fomenting violence in Iraq through its support for Shiite militias, especially in southern Iraq.
The US military also accuses Iran of supplying deadly roadside bombs, the biggest killers of US troops in Iraq, to Iraqi militias and has displayed caches of weapons it says are from Iran. Iran denies the charges and blames the 2003 US-led invasion for the sectarian violence between majority Shi'ites and minority Sunni Arabs that has killed tens of thousands.
The US military believes the Revolutionary Guards' Quds force is behind the shipping of weapons into Iraq, including armour-piercing "explosively formed penetrators". At a second round of landmark US-Iran talks on Iraqi security in July, US ambassador Ryan Crocker accused Iran of stepping up its support for militias in Iraq. Crocker also warned Tehran that its Quds operatives would not be safe in Iraq.
COMMENT: The U.S. has been threatening to label the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Force (RGF) a specially designated global terrorist group. This is not only likely to enrage Iran but will also give the U.S. more scope to pursue members of the RGF for illicit activites. COMMENT ENDS.

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