World
'Iran is sending drones, weapons to Iraq'Publish Date: Jun 26, 2014
'Iran is sending drones, weapons to Iraq'
  • mail
  • img
A boy holding a toy gun takes part in a demonstration by Iraqis living in Iran against the ongoing offensive by Sunni Arab jihadists in northern and north-central Iraq, on June 20, 2014, in the capital Tehran. PHOTO/AFP
newvision

WASHINGTON - Iran is secretly flying surveillance drones over Iraq and sending military equipment there to help Baghdad in its fight against Sunni insurgents, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

A "small fleet" of Ababil drones was deployed to the Al Rashid airfield near Baghdad, the newspaper said on its website, citing anonymous US officials.

Tehran has also installed an intelligence unit at the airfield to intercept electronic communications between ISIS fighters and commanders.

Ababil drones, less sophisticated than US unmanned aircraft, are designed in Iran and have a nearly 10-foot (three-meter) wingspan. They are used for surveillance and are unarmed.


Iran's former top nuclear negotiator and former presidential candidate, Saeed Jalili  gives a speech during a protest against the Sunni Arab militants offensive. PHOTO/AFP


Iranian rial banknotes bearing a portrait of the late founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. PHOTO/AFP


President Hassan Rouhani speaking in Khoramabad, in Iran's western Lorestan region. PHOTO/HO/Iranian presidency

About a dozen officers of Iran's paramilitary Quds Force, have also been sent to Iraq to advise Iraqi commanders and help mobilize Shiite militias in the south of the country, the paper said, adding that Iran's General Qassem Suleimani recently made two trips to Iraq.

Iran is also sending two flights daily to Baghdad with 70 tons each of military equipment and supplies.

"It's a substantial amount" of material, a US official told the newspaper. "It's not necessarily heavy weaponry, but it's not just light arms and ammunition."

Tehran has massed 10 divisions of its army and its Quds Force troops along the border, ready to act if the Iraqi capital or Shiite shrines are threatened, The New York Times added.


Iranians shout slogans during a protest against the Sunni Arab militants offensive led by the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq at Imam Hossein Square in the capital Tehran. PHOTO/AFP
 


Iraqis living in Iran hold posters bearing portraits of Shiite Muslim spiritual leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani (L) and the Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (R) during a demonstration in southern Tehran. PHOTO/AFP

Asked at a briefing, US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said she "can't confirm the specifics in those reports."

But she said "anyone in the region shouldn't do anything that might exacerbate sectarian divisions, that would fuel extremism inside Iraq."



The United States has for two weeks said Iranian aid for the Iraq crisis should be done in a nonsectarian way -- by pressuring the Iraqi government to adopt a national unity government and not fuel the Sunni and Shiite conflict.

We "believe Iran could play a constructive role if it's helping to send the same message to the Iraqi government that we're sending," Harf said.

A lightning offensive by Sunni insurgents led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has overrun swathes of land north and west of Baghdad this month and threatens to tear the country apart.

The United Nations says at least 1,075 people have been killed, an estimated three quarters of them civilians, and 658 wounded in Iraq between June 5 and 22. Hundreds of thousands more have been displaced.

AFP

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
N. Korea issues new bank notes to flush out cash
North Korea has started issuing new bank notes in an apparent effort to flush out privately hoarded cash reserves....
Sierra Leone cyclist tested for Ebola at Commonwealth Games
Sierra Leone cyclist Moses Sesay was quarantined and tested for Ebola at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, before being given the all-clear....
Kerry to test waters with India
US Secretary of State John Kerry meets with India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the first time on Friday....
Israel, Hamas agree 72-hour ceasefire
Israel and Hamas agreed to begin a 72-hour ceasefire from 0500 GMT Friday, alongside a diplomatic push for a more durable end to the bloodshed....
Gas blasts kill 24, injure 271 in Taiwan
A series of powerful gas blasts killed at least 24 people and injured up to 271 in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung, overturning cars and ripping up roads, officials said Friday....
East Africa boosts anti-Ebola measures
KENYA and Ethiopia, home to some of Africa's largest transport hubs, said Thursday they had boosted measures to combat possible Ebola cases arriving in their countries...
Should private schools and institutions be given tax exemption?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter