The Iranian Weapons Myth
One consistent meme that has popped up during the War in Iraq is the idea that the government of Iran is actually arming Shi’ite militias so that they can fight American soliders. As it turns out, though, there’s not a lot of evidence for this proposition.
Last April, top George W. Bush administration officials, desperate to exploit any possible crack in the close relationship between the Nouri al-Maliki government and Iran, launched a new round of charges that Iran had stepped up covert arms assistance to Shi’a militias.
Secretary of Defence Robert M. Gates suggested that there was “some sense of an increased level of [Iranian] supply of weapons and support to these groups.” And Washington Post reporter Karen DeYoung was told by military officials that the “plentiful, high quality weaponry” the militia was then using in Basra was “recently manufactured in Iran”.
But a U.S. military task force had been passing on data to the Multi-National Force Iraq (MNFI) command that told a very different story. The data collected by the task force in the previous six weeks showed that relatively few of the weapons found in Shi’a militia caches were manufactured in Iran.
The most likely culprit for Iranian arms being found in Iraq, as it turns out, are arms dealers, not the Iranian government. The article is worth reading in full.
(link via Matthew Yglesias)