Before I respond to this question, there are four core facts that must be kept in mind before we discuss IED supplies to Iraqi militia:
- Any time “Iran” gets blamed for anything, my antennas go up (and yours should go up too) – because its bullshit. Very often, Iran (and Iranians) get blamed for a misdeed that later turns out to have its origins inside the U.S. Whether it’s the hostage crisis, or nukes now, or oil price increases or even this issue of the IED’s – none of the core causes can be attributed to Iran. When all else fails – what do conniving politicians in the West do? Blame Iran!!
- The presence of U.S. forces in the region is a function of U.S. policy, not Iran. Even assuming that Iran trained and supplied militias in Iraq (which you’ll see later needs to be understood), who was it that put our American soldiers in Iraq? Who directed them to be there? Who supplied them with vehicle armor that was insufficient? 9/11 happened in 2001. Iraq was invaded on March 19th, 2003. U.S. had over two years to prepare for the war. To assume there would be no counter insurgency, no push back – is nothing but naive, perhaps criminal. We put our soldiers there – Iraqis didn’t invade us!
- The U.S. had no post invasion strategy! We had no idea who was going to replace Saddam Hussein. The country was literally destroyed – ‘shock and awe’ style! There was no functioning banking system afterwards. It was so bad we had to import USD in the form of cash, so people had currency to buy things. Iraqis had had no running water, no utilities … nothing…no police force…nothing! It was abject anarchy. And we had no plan to do anything! We literally left these poor and desperate people to fend for themselves.
- I do not and have never supported the theocracy in Iran. I am an ardent opponent of the regime. I do not condone their actions. But I can shed some light, provide some understanding on the relationship between the two nations. I believe it is an obligation for Iranian Americans to do so. Ordinary Americans simply do not understand, and are very poorly informed (often misled) about Iran and Iranians. There is an obligation here.
So, what did they do? What was Iran’s role in all this?
During the Iran-Iraq war, as many of you know, the U.S. supplied both sides, but the U.S. (officially) i.e. at least publicly, supported Saddam Hussein. The U.S. gave Iraq massive loan guarantees and critical weaponry – including by the way intermediates for Chemical Warfare. He was a Sunni leader, and brought in (and operated most of his government fellow Sunni tribesmen) to run the country. He oppressed and brutalized his opposition, especially majority Iraqi Shia, and by the way also gassed the Kurds. His opposition (literally thousands of senior Shia and some Kurdish figures) fled to Iran and asked for political asylum which the Iranians generously provided even though Iran was under tremendous economic sanctions and during a war.
Fast forward the first US-Iraq war (in Kuwait) and Bush senior even instructed the Shia to rise and topple Saddam after the ‘liberation of Kuwait’. They did so, but Saddam brutally suppressed them. And literally killed even more Shia ‘rebels’ and we (the U.S.) did nothing.
Then in 2003 we invaded. Destroyed the country. And then left Iraqis to essentially fend for themselves – all three major groups, the Shia (65%), the Kurds in the North and Sunni’s in the Western part of the country. Naturally, the Shia looked around for basic supplies – I mean we are talking electricity, Kerosene for heat in the winter, basic foods etc. Saudis were unwilling to help. And, Iran by being literally next door – with pre-existing connections to this group (with by the way to major Shia Shrines in Karbala and Najaf) – came to the rescue and supplied products – ran electricity lines from Iran’s grid, rebuilt roadways, etc. etc. And helped set up Shia set up militias to manage security in their neighborhoods. And these militias turned to Iran for training and supplies – because there was none in Iraq.
By the way, Iran had previously helped the U.S. invade Afghanistan and provided the assistance of Iran’s backed Northern Alliance in Afghanistan for this task.
But instead of working with Iran and being appreciative of Iran’s contributions in rebuilding not only Iraq but also Afghanistan – the U.S. led most of the world to believe that Iran would be next! U.S. continued to maintain and support 40 bases around Iran – I am talking in countries like Uzbekistan, Qatar, etc. – leading Iran’s Mullahs to believe that “they would be next”.
Meanwhile, in the post mayhem of the invasion, there was inter-group fighting among Iraqi factions with Sunnis bombing Shia neighborhoods and vice-a-versa. There was serious rivalry around the future governance of Iraq etc. There was even talk of splintering Iraq. And then, some ‘secret’ U.S. talks with former Baathists and Sunni tribal leaders (with seeds being planted for the creation of ISIS).
So, what do you do if you are a Shia militia member – or leader? If you sit back and think about the situation in Iraq and ask yourself – what are these Americans doing here? Who are they to tell us what to do? Or how to set up our government? What is going on in their secret conversations with the Sunnis and Kurds? Why is the U.S. emptying its prisons of Sunni radicals? So, they start thinking that they to secure Iraq by themselves, and “protect our own people, and get the U.S. to leave as soon as possible”. Far from seeing the U.S. as liberators or a peace keeping force – with their history of having been betrayed after the liberation of Iraq, of the U.S. supporting Saddam Hussein in the past and then not supporting him (telling him to Invade Iran, then invade Kuwait – then we turn on him etc.), and with media poison being thrown at a steady (and reliable fellow Shia brethren and ally – i.e. Iran) and by the way the distinct possibility of an Iran invasion from U.S. bases in Iraq (i.e. Iraq was going to be in the middle of yet another war) – their position was thank you for coming to get rid of the garbage you put in power (Saddam Hussein), but please leave now… you are not a reliable partner or grateful ally!! So, there was a definite effort by Iraqi Shia to make life in Iraq very uncomfortable for the U.S. post invasion.
And, who did they turn to? Iran of course. The same guys selling tires in Iraq, or providing kerosene to Iraq, same ones supplying everything… were now being asked for military supplies. And if Iran had not supplied, they would have gotten supplies from elsewhere (which by the way – they did receive stuff from other sources too).
Supplying Iraqi Militia:
Just so everyone is very clear, there is an active global military ‘surplus’ reselling industry. It’s a big business. People inside the military have been found selling military goods – whether its guns, clothing, food supplies etc. — it’s a very common illegal practice. It’s theft. Everyone from North Korea to major U.S. corporations are involved in this stuff. And Iran’s mullahs – especially – know all this because they basically bought stuff on the black market to retool their U.S. made tanks and air-planes during the Iran-Iraq war, and also established their own military-industrial- complex to make whatever arms they needed. There’s a lot of shifty, unofficial stuff going on involving military supplies.
But having said that, I am sure Iran supplied Iraqi militia. Did Iran make the ied’s, or make components for them, buy them and resell? Did Iran have a relationship with these militias and reasons to supply them – absolutely (with 40 U.S. bases around Iran and a cold-shoulder from the U.S. despite assistance with BOTH the Afghan and Iraq invasion – not unreasonably they thought they were next).
Remember, George “W” Bush’s State of the Union speech of January 2002, he named Iraq, Iran and North Korea as states that “constitute an axis of evil” and “pose a grave and growing danger”. Bush suggested the possibility of preemptive war: “I will not wait on events, while dangers gather. I will not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most destructive weapons”. This was an open declaration of war against 3 countries, one of which he then invaded.
So, who’s next? But does it matter? And, I am sure, the Iraqi militia could have bought supplies on the black market like from North Korea.
But I ask a simple question: when Saddam Hussein’s Iraq used French made Exocet missiles against Iranian targets – do you blame Iraq or France? When Iraq bought these missiles with money given to it by the Saudi Arabians, does this mean the blame should also go to Saudi Arabia or to Saddam Hussein who used the weapon? If Iraq was pushed into invading Iran, (i.e. Saddam Hussein) by Jimmy Carter, does that mean Iran should also attack the U.S. If someone shoots you, you don’t go to the gun shop at the end of the road and blame them or for whoever gave him his last paycheck! The answer is clearly NO! You go after whoever pulled the trigger. And, Iranians did not pull the trigger. (period) This nonsense on-line blaming Iran and Iranians for these American deaths is simply naïve, inflammatory, and borders on childishness and perverse logic.
Also, one should never forget that there are a lot of strange operatives in the region…. Israeli, Saudi intelligence… sometimes, it’s difficult to tell who pulled the trigger … to incriminate who! It’s no secret that both Israel and Saudi Arabia would like to see a U.S. invasion of Iran i.e. incriminate Iran! Might they have supplied Iranian components to their insiders in the Iraqi militia? Is it possible? Who knows?
So, Let’s Figure out (together) who the Real Criminals in Iraq Are? (Clue: Not Iran)
Why did the U.S. invade Iraq and put trillions of dollars and American blood on the line? What was America’s vital strategic interest or threat that meant the U.S. had to undertake a war of choice? Why did we send our boys across the world to fight this? Why?
Its very simple, look who pushed for the war? A gang of neo-conservatives who were incredibly politically influential during the Republican presidential administrations of the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, peaking in influence during the administration of George W. Bush! They were the ones who played a major role in promoting and planning the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Prominent neoconservatives in the George W. Bush administration included Paul Wolfowitz, Elliott Abrams, Richard Perle. And important journalists like Bill Kristol (former chief of staff to Dan Quayle). All of whom are dual citizen Israeli Americans. They had Israel’s security in mind, not America’s.
Some major defense and national-security officials have been quite critical (publicly) of what they believed was neoconservative influence in getting the United States to go to war against Iraq. Policy analysts noted that the Bush Doctrine as stated in the 2002 NSC document had a strong resemblance to recommendations presented originally in a controversial Defense Planning Guidance draft written during 1992 by Paul Wolfowitz, during the first Bush administration.
The Iraq war was a debacle for the U.S. There is no question about it. Projectiles from IED’s was an important part of the history, but not the whole story when it comes to the pain and suffering caused by the war. Everyone forgets that the economy had been so inflated (to pay for the war) that debt and housing prices went out of control causing a massive downturn of the U.S. economy and the virtual bankruptcy of the U.S. Many American suffered back home too.
Oh, how quickly we forget who was behind the war, what the repercussions were, and now everyone is so focused on Iranian supply of arms to the Iraqi militia but they forget that it was actually the Iraqi militia that pulled the trigger or even why they felt compelled to do so.
It’s all anti-Iranian rhetoric fed by Netanyahu’s Israel – the very same ally (if you can call them that) who pushed for the war in Iraq to begin with.
Not surprisingly, and not for the first time, Iran is being blamed for something someone else precipitated! Remember how it was Iran’s fault that oil prices hiked in the 70’s (that by the way then led to the economic justification for oil (and gas) exploration in very expensive Alaska, and Britain’s North Sea fields, or the U.S. embassy hostage crisis of the 80’s blaming Iran for what ended up being a Reagan Campaign/Republican scam to win the presidential elections, or how about the sanctions scam (after the end of the Iran-Iraq war) in the 90’s to keep Iran contained while Western oil companies stole Iranian oil (and sovereignty) in the Caspian Sea, or how about the nuclear threat scam of this past decade – blaming Iran for a nuclear program that in fact the west actually sold to Iran… yet another excuse to contain and sanction Iran… and now I see on line blog after blog blaming “Iranian projectiles” from IED’s in Iraq for U.S. servicemen’s death … so why not, let’s kill an Iranian General, and pull out of the JCPOA… and get some more votes.
It’s just another clever, bullshit political blame game … with Iran (and Iranians) at the butt of it.
But Americans should not be fooled. You should know who your true friends and enemies are.
One final point, I was at a university alumni meeting in Washington DC when this issue was being openly discussed. There was a former U.S. serviceman / Iraq war veteran (who literally had blood in his eyes), who somehow figured out who some of the participants were. He made some calls the next day, and to cut a long story short some of my friends lost important business contracts with US gov. This is how stupid and naïve these people are. I mean – they can’t see straight, they can’t think, and Trump’s administration and Fox News is feeding them more garbage and pandering to them.
Blaming Iran will not resolve the grief or make up for the loss. (And by the way there are literally millions of Iraqis and Iranians who have similar sentiments and losses). But this sort of behavior is vicious and too visceral. I know we are living in strange times. But it’s simply ridiculous and too convenient to blame Iran for all their ills, and for everything that went wrong in Iraq. The strange thing about the Iraq debacle is that Americans never treated the Vietnamese after their withdrawal this way. Its very hard to explain to these same guys, that hey “your hero” Oliver North (and Ronald Reagan) was in bed with the Mullahs!! These same mullahs!! America keeps picking fights around the world, losing, coming home with our tails in between our legs – and its always someone else’s fault – but there is no introspection, no reflection, no deep thought about how or why all this happened!
Iran’s mullahs are not saints, but constantly blaming Iran and pointing fingers, will not resolve fundamental systemic political conditions that got the U.S. into this debacle and led to all the losses America suffered as a result.
How do we restore reason and sanity in America?