- Ambassador Ryan Crocker testifying on April 8th before the Senate Armed Services Committee:
Iran continues to undermine the efforts of the Iraqi government to establish a stable, secure state through the authority and training of criminal militia elements engaged in violence against Iraqi security forces, coalition forces and Iraqi civilians. The extent of Iran’s malign influence was dramatically demonstrated when militia elements armed and trained by Iran clashed with Iraqi government forces in Basrah and Baghdad. When the President announced the Surge, he pledged to seek out and destroy Iranian-supported lethal networks inside Iraq. We know more about these networks and their Quds Force sponsors than ever before – and we will continue to aggressively uproot and destroy them.
- General David Petraeus testifying on April 8th before the Senate Armed Services Committee:
The recent flare-up in Basrah, southern Iraq, and Baghdad . . . highlighted the destructive role Iran has played in funding, training, arming, and directing the so-called Special Groups and generated renewed concern about Iran in the minds of many Iraqi leaders. Unchecked, the Special Groups pose the greatest long-term threat to the viability of a democratic Iraq.
- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen on April 25th:
[I am] increasingly concerned about Iran’s activity, not just in Iraq, but throughout the region.
I believe recent events, especially the Basra operation, have revealed just how much and just how far Iran is reaching into Iraq to foment instability. Their support to criminal groups in the form of munitions and training, as well as other assistance they are providing and the attacks they are encouraging continues to kill coalition and Iraqi personnel.
- An April 26th story in The New York Times:
Questions Linger on Scope of Iran’s Threat in Iraq
. . . [S]ignificant uncertainties remain about the extent of that involvement and the threat it poses to American and Iraqi forces.
Some intelligence and administration officials said Iran seemed to have carefully calibrated its involvement in Iraq over the last year, in contrast to what President Bush and other American officials have publicly portrayed as an intensified Iranian role.
It remains difficult to draw firm conclusions about the ebb and flow of Iranian arms into Iraq, and the Bush administration has not produced its most recent evidence.
But interviews with more than two dozen military, intelligence and administration officials showed that while shipments of arms had continued in recent months despite an official Iranian pledge to stop the weapons flow, they had not necessarily increased.
- Further down in the same April 26th NY Times article:
The administration’s focus on Iran has raised alarms among the war’s staunchest critics, who accuse the White House of overstating the threat and laying the groundwork for military action against Iran.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California who has called for opening talks with Iran, said that while she believed that there was evidence that Iran was aiding Shiite militias, she worried about the tenor of the administration’s latest warnings.
"This is not a new thing," she said of Iran’s involvement. "Why all of a sudden do the sabers start to rattle?"
The April 25th Wall Street Journal:
The U.S. military says it has found caches of newly made Iranian weapons in Iraq, leading senior officials to conclude Tehran is continuing to funnel armaments into Iraq despite its pledges to the contrary.(via Wolf Howling, Confederate Yankee)
Officials in Washington and Baghdad said the purported Iranian mortars, rockets and explosives had date stamps indicating they were manufactured in the past two months. The U.S. plans to publicize the weapons caches in coming days. A pair of senior commanders said a presentation was tentatively planned for Monday.