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August 5, 2005
Building A Case Against Iran?

MS-NBC reported last night that American military forces captured a large shipment of shape charges, the kind of explosives used against American military forces by Iraqi terrorists. Sources within the military and intelligence communities told the network that the charges originated with Iran, an allegation that could have potential to escalate already-existing disputes between Washington and Teheran:

U.S. military and intelligence officials tell NBC News that American soldiers intercepted a large shipment of high explosives, smuggled into northeastern Iraq from Iran only last week.

The officials say the shipment contained dozens of "shaped charges" manufactured recently. Shaped charges are especially lethal because theyre designed to concentrate and direct a more powerful blast into a small area.

Theyll go right through a very heavily armored vehicle like an M1-A1 tank from one side right out the other side, says retired U.S. Army General Barry McCaffrey.

Military officials say theres only one use for shaped charges to kill American forces and insurgents started using them in Iraq with deadly effectiveness three months ago.

This report by Jim Miklaszewski gives few details on how CENTCOM or the CIA determined the origin of this shipment, and no one has gone on record with this information as of yet. Obviously these explosives come from somewhere, and as Miklaszewski reports, it could come from a front group like Hezbollah to shield Iran from direct responsibility. Without more details about how this identification was made, though, at best this seems surprising.

No doubt that Iran would love to see the Sunni/Wahhabist terrorists chase us out of Iraq, but it doesn't seem too likely that they would create an alliance with the same people that fought an eight-year bloody war against them. Teheran doesn't have that kind of philosophical flexibility, especially these days. Their efforts will go towards co-opting the radical Shi'a instead, as in Basra where Steven Vincent saw the effect of certifiable Iranian meddling in Iraq. The Iranians support the people who have made it their night jobs to assassinate former Ba'ath party officials and their Sunni partners. It seems unlikely that they would arm the side that their philosphical allies specifically target in the south.

If this does turn out to be true, then we need to start taking stronger steps to dissuade Teheran from interfering in Iraq and from their complicity in killing our soldiers. Let's get more information on why they think it's true, and not just from a few anonymous sources.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 5, 2005 6:10 AM

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