World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


US Military: Iran-Backed Shiites Continue Attacks

By Al Pessin

US Military: Iran-Backed Shiites Continue Attacks in Baghdad, Despite Reduced Violence

The commander of coalition forces in two volatile Baghdad neighborhoods says Shiite splinter groups backed by Iran are continuing their attacks, in spite of a reduction of violence in the area by mainstream Shiite groups and mostly-Sunni al-Qaida.

Speaking via satellite from Baghdad, Colonel Don Farris said the Iran-backed Shiites, which he called the Special Groups, are countering the trend toward less violence by most Shiite and Sunni groups in Baghdad's Adamiyah and Sadr City neighborhoods.

"While the violence is down, I remain very concerned in our sector about these Special Groups," he said. "They are very lethal. They are organized. They are sophisticated. And I have not seen that their operations have declined or diminished in any way, shape or form here in the last several months."

Colonel Farris says the Special Groups planted nine Iranian-designed and supplied high-powered bombs last month, resulting in the deaths of several of his soldiers. That was the highest monthly number ever in his area of what are called explosively formed projectiles. He says the number is down in November, but he attributes that to steps his forces have taken to keep the Special Group fighters out of key areas, rather than to any reduction in the groups' efforts.

In addition, the colonel reports one of his small neighborhood outposts was hit with bombs thrown over its fence a week ago, which contained explosive charges that likely came from Iran. He says he has seen no indication of a reduction in Iranian support for the militant Shiite groups, although senior officials have indicated Iran may have slowed the flow of bomb-making material after a top-level Iran-Iraq meeting.

"In the last six weeks we have captured two Iraqis," he said. "One was significant because he admitted to receiving training in Iran in building and employing these explosively formed projectiles. And another admitted to working as an agent for somebody or some group in Iran."

Colonel Farris reports local community leaders in his part of Baghdad are not happy about the Special Group activities, and are trying to resume normal political activity, including meetings with Iraqi government and military officials. He says he is using some of the money in his own budget to promote local wholesale markets and provide jobs for military-aged men, who might otherwise join the insurgency.

The colonel's brigade was the first of five additional units President Bush ordered to Iraq earlier this year. He says coalition penetration into the Sadr City neighborhood is still limited to about 20 percent of the area. He says he is waiting for more progress on building relationships with local leaders before he tries to send in more troops because he does not want to do anything that might stall the fledgling progress he says is being made.


More: Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Mexico: Violence And Repression Of Teachers

The member organizations of Network for Peace express our indignation over the acts of repression that the Mexican State has carried out, through the police forces... In Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the conflict has resulted in murders of teachers and civilians as well as hundreds of wounded and dozens of people arrested. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Britain's Pleas For Mercy

So… Boris Johnson is promising that he won't be holding a snap general election, if he's chosen as the next UK Conservative Party leader. Reportedly, he is even making that promise a feature of his leadership campaign, since a vote for Boris would therefore mean (wink wink) that his colleagues wouldn't have to risk their jobs and face the wrath of the British public until 2020. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news