Via Think Progress, we learn that Iranian weapons shipments moving around Iraq – and the prototypical subject of an alarmist dog-and-pony show over the weekend – are actually typical of weapons destined for SCIRI, a Bush-backed rival group to al-Sadr’s Mehdi Army, according to a report from CNN’s Michael Ware (video available at Think Progress):
U.S. intelligence and military officials have stated that Iranian weapons shipments "are going to Shiite militias that include rogue elements of Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mehdi army militia." But U.S. officials have not been as vocal about possible Iranian support for a separate Shiite militia, the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution In Iraq (SCIRI). The Mehdi Army and SCIRI are rivals, and both have armed wings.
Yesterday, Kevin Drum speculated that Iran might be providing the SCIRI militia with weaponry. Drum wrote, "In other words, if we had to guess where the bombs were going, we might guess that SCIRI’s militia is getting a share of the action too." There’s no need to guess any longer. CNN’s Michael Ware has confirmed that Iranians have been supplying weapons to SCIRI.
Keep in mind that SCIRI’s head, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, was lauded by Bush just a couple of short months ago as "one of the distinguished leaders of a free Iraq," even though the Iranians captured in two raids on Christmas Eve, accused of attacking Iraqi security forces, were taken at al-Hakim’s personal compound, according to the New York Times:
BAGHDAD, Dec. 24 — The American military is holding at least four Iranians in Iraq, including men the Bush administration called senior military officials, who were seized in a pair of raids late last week aimed at people suspected of conducting attacks on Iraqi security forces, according to senior Iraqi and American officials in Baghdad and Washington.
...one of the raids took place in the Baghdad compound of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, one of Iraq’s most powerful Shiite leaders, who traveled to Washington three weeks ago to meet President Bush.
The weapons, the allegations, the players, the CNN confirmation ... things get curiouser and curiouser as sabers continue to rattle.
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