Leaked Docs: Iran hid Weapons in Earthquake Aid to Smuggle Arms to Syria to Attack U.S. Troops
WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) – A classified U.S. government document leaked online by a 21-year old military technician trying to impress his friends reveals that Iran exploited humanitarian aid shipments to smuggle arms to Syria.
The Iranian weapons were transferred through Iraq to be used to target U.S. troops deployed in Syria, The Washington Post reported last week.
The leaked document also suggests that at least some Iraqi militias act on the orders of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC.) Abu Fadak Al-Mohammedawi, chief of staff of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), appears to be a key figure in passing on such orders, the Post reported.
The U.S. designated Mohammedawi as a terrorist in January 2021. Michael Knights, of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, writing then explained that Mohammedawi had a long history of association with Iranian-backed militias going back over 30 years, to the late 1980s, when he was a member of the Badr Corps.
On Tuesday, Pentagon Spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, was asked about The Washington Post report. He declined to comment on the leaked document, but affirmed, in general terms, Iranian involvement in the clandestine smuggling of arms to various groups that it supports throughout the region.
Leaked Doc: Pro-Iran Militias Played Key Role
A major earthquake struck Syria and Turkey early in the morning of Feb. 6, triggering the shipments of humanitarian aid that Iran would exploit. Already on Feb 7, as the leaked document states, an Iraqi militia “allegedly orchestrated the transfer of rifles, ammunition and 30 UAVs [Unmanned Aerial Vehicles] hidden in aid convoys to support future attacks on U.S. forces in Syria.”
A week later, on Feb, 13, an IRGC-Qods Force officer directed an Iraqi militia to “embed weapons within legitimate earthquake aid,” while another officer maintained a list of “hundreds” of vehicles and goods entering Syria through Iraq after the earthquake, “an apparent effort to manage where all of the trafficked weapons were headed.” the Post reported.
Pentagon: Illicit Activity by Iran-Sponsored Groups
In response to a question about the Post report, Ryder replied, “I’m just not going to get into talking” about “classified documents or unauthorized disclosure” of documents.
However, “throughout the region, we’ve seen illicit activity by Iranian-sponsored groups in terms of moving weapons and ammunition,” Ryder continued.
He affirmed that “in accordance with international law and working with our partners in the region,” as well as with other U.S. government agencies, the Defense Department was doing “what we can to stem the tide of the illicit shipment of illegal arms and weapons” out of Iran.
“This just points to Iran’s malign activity in the region,” Ryder said, summarizing the challenge that Tehran poses to the U.S. and its allies in the region.