Saudis Report Shi'ite "State" Inside of Iraq

[Washington Times] Sharon Behn - Iran has effectively created a Shi'ite "state within a state" in neighboring Iraq, defying both Iraqi Sunnis and neighboring Sunni nations, according to a Saudi security report. Iranian military forces are providing Shi'ite militias with weapons and training, Iranian charities are pouring funds into schools and hospitals, and Tehran is actively supporting pro-Iranian Iraqi politicians, said the report by the Saudi National Security Assessment Project, commissioned by the Saudi government. The report states that the insurgency is run mainly by former military officers of the Ba'athist regime. Only a smaller group is religiously inspired and includes foreign fighters. The Sunni insurgency numbers about 77,000, with the "jihadis" numbering about 17,000, of which some 5,000 are from North Africa, Sudan, Yemen, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. The remaining 60,000 are members of the former Iraqi military or paramilitary forces. The officer corps of the insurgency has "command and control facilities in Syria." The Shi'ite militia forces total about 35,000. Iran also is infiltrating Iraq through its al Quds forces - the special command division of the Revolutionary Guards - which specialize in intelligence operations and unconventional warfare.

2006-12-18 01:00:00

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