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Monday, July 02, 2007

Hezbullah fighting US forces in Iraq

I arrived back in Israel a little less than eight hours ago.

There were those who thought that Israel's war against terror and President Bush's war on terror were not one and the same thing. I can recall being especially disappointed after September 11 when President Bush declined to make the clear connection between the two. Today, there is proof that the two wars - and the US war in Iraq and Israel's war with Hamas and Hezbullah - are one and the same.

A US army general disclosed this morning that a senior commander in Hezbullah has been arrested in southern Iraq and charged with working in Iraq as a surrogate for the Iranian Quds Force. The Quds Force, in turn, has been implicated in an attack on US forces in Karbala in January in which five US troops were killed. This is an al-AP report:
Iran is using the Lebanese Shi'ite militia Hizbullah as a "proxy" to arm Shi'ite militants in Iraq and Teheran's elite Quds force helped militants carry out a January attack in Karbala in which five Americans were killed, a US general said Monday.

A senior Lebanese Hizbullah operative, Ali Mussa Dakdouk, was captured March 20 in southern Iraq, US military spokesman Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner said. Dakdouk served for 24 years in Hizbullah and was "working in Iraq as a surrogate for the Iranian Quds Force," Bergner said.

The general also said that Dakdouk was a liaison between the Iranians and a breakaway Shi'ite group led by Qais al-Kazaali, a former spokesman for cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Bergner said Kazaali's group carried out the January attack against a provincial government building in Karbala and that the Iranians assisted in preparations. Khazaali and his brother Ali al-Khazaali were captured with Dakdouk.

Dakdouk told US interrogators that the Karbala attackers "could not have conducted this complex operation without the support and direction of the Quds force," Bergner said.

Documents captured with Khazaali showed that the Quds Force had developed detailed information on the US position at the government building, "regarding our soldiers' activities, shift changes and defenses, and this information was shared with the attackers," Bergner said.

The Karbala attack was one of the boldest and most sophisticated against US forces in four years of fighting in Iraq, and US officials at the time suggested Iran may have had a role in it. In the assault, up to a dozen gunmen posed as an American security team, with US military combat fatigues, allowing them to pass checkpoints into the government compound, where they launched the attack. One US soldier was killed in the initial assault, and the militants abducted four others who were later found shot to death.
The Quds Force is the 'external arm' of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Hezbullah has declined comment on the report.
Bergner said Iraqi extremists were taken to Iran in groups of 20 to 60 for training in three camps "not too far from Tehran." When they returned to Iraq, they formed units called "special groups" to carry out attacks, bombings and kidnappings.

"Our intelligence reveals that the senior leadership in Iran is aware of this activity," he said. Asked if Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei could be unaware of the activity, Bergner said, "That would be hard to imagine."

Dakdouk was "tasked to organize the special groups in ways that mirrored how Hizbullah was organized in Lebanon," the general said. Dakdouk was ordered by Hizbullah's leadership to work with the Quds Force and went to Iran in May 2006 to meet with Quds Force commanders, Bergner said. He then made four trips to Iraq over the next year.

Hizbullah, he said, helps the Iranians as a "proxy ... to do things they didn't want to have to do themselves in terms of interacting with special groups," Bergner said.
But just give the 'Palestinians' a state reichlet and all the terrorism will stop.


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