Monday, March 13, President George W. Bush accused Iran of contributing to the unrest in Iraq, saying some of the homemade bombs that are wreaking havoc in the country came from Iraq’s meddlesome eastern neighbor. Quoting his national intelligence director John Negroponte, Bush said Iran has been responsible for at least some of the increasing lethality of attacks in Iraq.
“Coalition forces have seized IED and components that were clearly produced in Iran,” he said.
Bush quoted his intelligence director, but refrained from citing a file placed on his desk in recent days by another intelligence chief.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s counter-terror and Iraqi sources report that the file contains a catalogue of Iran’s involvement in Iraq as penned by the Iraqi intelligence service director General Mohammed Abdullah Shahwani, who is a highly thought-of Shiite cloak and dagger whiz. The harder he works, the more exasperated he gets when he sees his efforts to prop up central government in Iraq set aside.
Knowledgeable American and Iraqi security officials in Baghdad rate the Shahwani file as the most powerful anti-Iran IED. But prime minister Ibrahim Jaafari has shelved it, which makes it hard for Americans in Iraq to officially refer to its content, although they know it to be highly explosive.
Nevertheless, some of its key disclosures have reached DEBKA-Net-Weekly.
In one, Shahwani reveals an influx of thousands of guerrilla and urban combat fighters from Iran in the second half of February and the first half of March. They have all been trained for suicide attacks on American forces and targets around the country, to be launched on a prearranged signal from their superiors in Iran.
The commander of this force, according to the report, is a Revolutionary Guards general called Ismail Dekaiki, who served as head of the Badr Force when it was first recruited and trained in Iranian exile in the late nineties.
General Dekaiki has divided Iraq into six operational sectors, each headed by an Iranian colonel.
The invaders cross the divided Shatt al Arb waterway from west to east, are collected on the Iraqi side by local guides provided by the Iraqi Hizballah, who lead them across the 150 square miles of marshes from al Qurnah in southern Iraq to Basra and on to Ali Gharbi north of al Amara. The new intake is received at a base built for them in the Shiite town of al Kut on the southern bank of the Tigris.
Iranian death squads systematically liquidate Iraqi intelligence officers
The Iranians also smuggle weapons, explosives and IEDs into Iraq by the same route.
At al Kut, the suicide guerillas are received by officers of the Iraqi Badr Organization, which prime minister Ibrahim Jaafari and other Shiite members of his government swear is absolutely loyal to Iraq and national unity; no Badr officers maintain any links with Iranian intelligence, they insist.
The Shahwani file traces the incoming suicide guerrillas to their final destinations, distributed by Badr Force officers among the six sectors to which they have been assigned. Each group is received by the Iranian intelligence officers in charge of the sector. These officers are drawn from Iran’s Talaath secret service, whose senior commander is General Qassim Suleimani, head of the Al Quds Army of the Revolutionary Guards, which runs Iran’s Middle East and Persian Gulf terrorist networks.
The Iraqi file lists by name the 27 Iranian diplomats serving at the embassy in Baghdad as a front for their duties as super-controllers of Iranian clandestine activities in the six sectors of Iraq. They also act as connecting links between those sectors and the underground networks of Iranian suicide terrorists.
So far, General Shahwani reports, those networks have not been called into suicide action against Americans. They have been pressed into service in the interim as death squads for liquidating Iraqi general intelligence officers and agents.
He has discovered that Iranian intelligence has got hold of lists of the personnel in his intelligence service, including the new recruits, and has their addresses and base locations. The intelligence director accuses the Iranian death squads of working their way methodically down those lists and murdering his men, one by one.
Shahwani believes that Iranians are determined to denude central government in Baghdad of an independent intelligence resource. The Baghdad administration is still partially dependent on Americans for intelligence. Once they are gone, Tehran wants the Iraqi government to be forced to rely exclusively on Iranian undercover agencies for lack of its own.
Facts and figures are provided to support his findings and evaluations.
In the last three months, 18 of Iraqi general intelligence’s brightest and best agents have been assassinated. The modus operandi in all cases was nearly identical and quite different from the methods employed by Sunni insurgents and al Qaeda gangs.
The Iraqi intelligence director struck back. He reports that on January 29, his men raided apartments used by Iranian undercover agents in Baghdad and came away with a good haul of documents.
Iran‘s vendetta against Iraqi war veterans
They were attached to his file.
They confirmed that their primary mission was to liquidate Iraqi intelligence officers.
Their second mission, according to the documents, is to collect names for the systematic elimination of army officers up to the rank of general who fought in the Iraq-Iran war in the eighties, even if they served behind the lines in clerical jobs.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s Iraqi experts estimate that this vendetta, if the Iranians go through with it, could wipe out tens of thousands of Iraqi war veterans and decimate the Iraqi Baath party.
The Shahwani file contains an estimate of the cost to Iran of activating six terror sectors in Iraq and preparing an army of suicide killers. He concludes that General Dakaiki has been allocated a budget running to 45 million Iranian petrodollars for this year.
The Iraqi intelligence general’s final assessment runs contrary to Washington’s objective in Baghdad.
He disputes the effort made by the US ambassador Salmay Khalilzad to keep the Shiite leader Ibrahim Jaafari on as prime minister, which has stalled progress towards a national unity government. Shahwani urges the Americans to drop Jaafari because Tehran counts on him to thwart counteraction to Iranian incursions and the activities of its networks.
General Shahwani recommends the Badr Organization and the Iraqi Hizballah, the two main logistical props of Iran’s terrorist enterprise in Iraq, to be banned as illegal terrorist organizations, on a par with Abu Musab al Zarqawi’s al Qaeda and the Sunni insurgent underground. Outlawing them will give Iraqi intelligence the tools for cracking down on the Iranian threat without having to ask for permission from the government.
His second key recommendation is to cut down the Iranian diplomatic complement in Baghdad. If Iraq can make do with 20 diplomats in Tehran, what justification does Iran have for maintaining a staff of hundreds of “diplomats“?
DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s sources add:
The unpublished Shahwani intelligence file throws light on certain recent events in Baghdad.
For the first time death squads composed of government employees were found operating illegally from inside two government ministries, senior Iraqi officials confirmed Sunday, March 12.
“The death squads we have captured are in the defense and interior ministries,” Minister of interior Bayan Jabr said at a joint news conference with the defense minister.
“There are people who have infiltrated the army and the interior ministry.”
Jabr said investigations into the death squads were still under way in the defense ministry. The interior ministry had arrested 22 people and subsequently released 18 after interrogation, detaining four for further questioning.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s Iraq sources reveal that the statement exposing the death squads was also heavily censured by prime minister Jaafari before publication.