Iran Supplying Syrian Military via Iraqi Airspace

(New York Times) Michael R. Gordon - Iran has resumed shipping military equipment to Syria over Iraqi airspace in a new effort to bolster the embattled government of President Assad, according to senior American officials. The Obama administration pressed Iraq to shut down the air corridor that Iran had been using earlier this year, raising the issue with Prime Minister Maliki. But Iran doubled down in supporting the Syrian leader and the flights started up again in July. Maliki's tolerance of Iran's use of Iraqi airspace suggests the limits of the Obama administration's influence in Iraq, despite the American role in toppling Saddam Hussein and ushering in a new government. Several airlines have been involved in ferrying the arms, according to American officials, including Mahan Air, a commercial Iranian airline that the U.S. Treasury Department said last year had ferried men, supplies and money for Iran's paramilitary Quds Force and Hizbullah. The Iranians have even provided a cargo plane that the Syrian military can use to ferry men and supplies around the country, according to two American officials. According to one American official, there have been reliable reports that Iraqi Shiite militia fighters are now making their way to Syria to help the Assad government.

2012-09-05 00:00:00

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