Monday, February 12, 2007

The die is cast 

We've heard the rumblings. Here's the out-and-out belch, yeasty, bilious, rank. Directly in your face.

Let's give a warm AmCop welcome to "E.F.P.", the new 24-hour playboy of the Armageddon vernacular.

U.S. Says Arms Link Iranians to Iraqi Shiites

BAGHDAD, Feb. 12 — After weeks of internal debate, senior United States military officials on Sunday literally put on the table their first public evidence of the contentious assertion that Iran supplies Shiite extremist groups in Iraq with some of the most lethal weapons in the war. They said those weapons had been used to kill more than 170 Americans in the past three years.

Never before displayed in public, the weapons included squat canisters designed to explode and spit out molten balls of copper that cut through armor. The canisters, called explosively formed penetrators or E.F.P.’s, are perhaps the most feared weapon faced by American and Iraqi troops here.

In a news briefing held under strict security, the officials spread out on two small tables an E.F.P. and an array of mortar shells and rocket-propelled grenades with visible serial numbers that the officials said link the weapons directly to Iranian arms factories. The officials also asserted, without providing direct evidence, that Iranian leaders had authorized smuggling those weapons into Iraq for use against the Americans. The officials said such an assertion was an inference based on general intelligence assessments.


The officials were repeatedly pressed on why they insisted on anonymity in such an important matter affecting the security of American and Iraqi troops. A senior United States military official gave a partial answer, saying that without anonymity, a senior Defense Department analyst who participated in the briefing could not have contributed.

Fascinating figure, this "senior Defense Department analyst" who could only have contributed with anonymity. Surely he's just a career civil servant worker bee, doing his due diligence, humbly shunning the limelight and the political implications of his findings...

But then the officials went much further, asserting without specific evidence that the Iranian security apparatus, called the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps - Quds Force controlled delivery of the materials to Iraq. And in a further inference, the officials asserted that the Quds Force, sometimes called the I.R.G.C. - Quds, could be involved only with Iranian government complicity.

“We have been able to determine that this material, especially on the E.F.P. level, is coming from the I.R.G.C. - Quds Force,” said the senior defense analyst. That, the analyst said, meant direction for the operation was “coming from the highest levels of the Iranian government.”

Good "analysis," Mr. Career Senior Defense Department "analyst." We know how shy you are about making such provocative "analyses," so pats on the back and much gratitude for your humble anonymous service.

Now, pay attention:

The officials also gave fresh details on recent American raids in Baghdad and the northern city of Erbil in which Quds Force members were picked up and accused of working with extremist groups to plan attacks on American and Iraqi forces.

Some of the five Iranians still being detained after they were picked up in Erbil on Jan. 11 had been flushing documents down a toilet when they were found, the defense analyst said, and they had recently been engaged in “changing their appearance” — apparently shaving their heads, though for what reason the analyst did not know.

An earlier raid in Baghdad was carried out, the officials said, after American forces received word that the No. 2 Quds Force official, whom they identified as Mohsin Chizari, was unexpectedly in Iraq. When Mr. Chizari was picked up in a raid in December, he was carrying false identification, the officials said.


The senior defense analyst said there was no direct link between the detained Iranians and the physical evidence presented on Sunday. But the analyst said, “the overall tenor” of the evidence was that Mr. Chizari was implicated in bringing E.F.P.s into Iraq.

And now, the flop, if you'll excuse the poker metaphor:

Laid out on the tables themselves were the tailfins of dozens of apparently used mortar shells, as well as intact mortar shells, rocket-propelled grenades, cases for some of the weaponry, the E.F.P., and two identification cards the officials said were taken in the Erbil raid.

Right: side by side on the table are the E.F.P. and the id cards of the officials from Erbil. Of course, the E.F.P. has nothing to do with the Erbil guys, but just for convenience's sake, they'll be laid out here, side by side. How refined your perception of "the overall tenor" of the evidence is up to you.

The turn:

The shells had serial numbers in English in order to comply with international standards for arms, the officials said. One grenade, for instance, was marked with the serial number P.G.7-AT-1 followed by LOT:5-31-2006. The officials said that the serial numbers clearly identified the grenade as being of Iranian manufacture and the date showed that it had been made in 2006.

I don't know nothing about nothing, but Iran couldn't be bothered to scratch out the serial numbers on the grenades linking them directly to Iran?

The river:

The senior American military official did make it clear that declassifying the material took place only after weeks of analysis on what information could be useful to hostile forces — information that has mostly been kept out of the public eye since the E.F.P.s began turning up in Iraq. “We publicly have not acknowledged E.F.P.s for the past two years,” the senior military official said.

Pretty hard to beat a hand of five aces, isn't it?


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?