World
'Iran is sending drones, weapons to Iraq'
Publish Date: Jun 26, 2014
'Iran is sending drones, weapons to Iraq'
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
  • mail
  • img
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
New UN rep for S.Sudan warns of
The new UN chief for South Sudan arrived in the conflict-wracked country Tuesday, a week after gunmen shot down a UN helicopter....
Nuns go public for first time in 150 years
A group of Ecuadoran nuns opened the doors of their convent to the outside world Saturday - a first since the order arrived in the South American country 150 years ago....
Obama’s cool-in-a-crisis style – asset or liability?
Obama''s cool-in-a-crisis style and disdain for the impulsive use of military force is fueling criticism of his leadership....
Ukraine rebels prepare attack as EU warns Russia of new sanctions
Pro-Russian separatists were preparing a fresh offensive on a key coastal location in eastern Ukraine on Sunday, as EU leaders gave Moscow one week to curb its support for the rebels or face new sanctions....
EU readies new Russia sanctions as Ukraine conflict spirals
The European Union geared up a fresh wave of sanctions against Russia on Saturday with warnings that the escalating conflict in Ukraine was putting all of Europe at risk of war....
Deadly Ebola hits 5th West African nation
The deadly Ebola epidemic has spread to a fifth country in West Africa with the first confirmed case of the deadly virus in Senegal....
Do you think banning the sale of single cigarette sticks will help regulate tobacco production?
yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter