- John Podesta eats crow: ‘I apologize to Speaker Boehner’
- U.S., China race to finish line on ‘invisibility cloak’
- Obama ‘cavalier’ in hiding foreign aid order, judge rules
- Prince Charles: Muslims are driving Christians from Mideast through persecution
- Gitmo’s first commander: Close the prison down
- Google’s newest photography find: Just wink and shoot
- Detroit’s Heidelberg art project hit by 8 fires in 8 months
- Pa. police pull people over for random DNA tests for feds
- NASA pushing hard to get back into space game
- Harvard student to face federal charges for bomb hoax
Iran boosts Qods shock troops in Venezuela
Question of the Day
Iran is increasing its paramilitary Qods force operatives in Venezuela while covertly continuing supplies of weapons and explosives to Taliban and other insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to the Pentagon’s first report to Congress on Tehran’s military.
The report on Iranian military power provides new details on the group known formally as the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), the Islamist shock troops deployed around the world to advance Iranian interests. The unit is aligned with terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, North Africa and Latin America, and the report warns that U.S. forces are likely to battle the Iranian paramilitaries in the future.
The Qods force “maintains operational capabilities around the world,” the report says, adding that “it is well established in the Middle East and North Africa and recent years have witnessed an increased presence in Latin America, particularly Venezuela.”
“If U.S. involvement in conflict in these regions deepens, contact with the IRGC-QF, directly or through extremist groups it supports, will be more frequent and consequential,” the report says.
The report provides the first warning in an official U.S. government report about Iranian paramilitary activities in the Western Hemisphere. It also highlights links between Iran and the anti-U.S. government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has been accused of backing Marxist terrorists in Colombia.
• Click here to view the report. (PDF)
The report gives no details on the activities of the Iranians in Venezuela and Latin America. Iranian-backed terrorists have conducted few attacks in the region. However, U.S. intelligence officials say Qods operatives are developing networks of terrorists in the region who could be called to attack the United States in the event of a conflict over Iran’s nuclear program.
Qods force support for extremists includes providing arms, funding and paramilitary training and is not constrained by Islamist ideology. “Many of the groups it supports do not share, and sometimes openly oppose, Iranian revolutionary principles, but Iran supports them because they share common interests or enemies,” the report says.
Qods force commandos are posted in Iranian embassies, charities and religious and cultural institutions that support Shi’ite Muslims. While providing some humanitarian support, Qods forces also engage in “paramilitary operations to support extremists and destabilize unfriendly regimes,” the report says.
The report links Qods force operatives and the larger IRGC to some of the deadliest terrorist attacks of the past 30 years: the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut in 1983, the bombing of a Jewish center in Argentina in 1994, the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia and many insurgent attacks in Iraq since 2003.
Qods forces in Afghanistan are working through nongovernmental organizations and political opposition groups, the report says. Tehran also is backing insurgent leaders Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Ismail Khan.
“Arms caches have been recently uncovered [in Afghanistan] with large amounts of Iranian-manufactured weapons, to include 107 millimeter rockets, which we assess IRGC-QF delivered to Afghan militants,” the report says, noting that recent manufacture dates on the weapons suggest the support is “ongoing.”
“Tehran’s support to the Taliban is inconsistent with their historic enmity, but fits with Iran’s strategy of backing many groups to ensure that it will have a positive relationship with the eventual leaders,” the report says.
In Iraq, Qods forces are supporting terrorists through Iranian embassies. The report says the outgoing Iranian ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, is a member, as well as the new ambassador in Baghdad, Hassan Danafar.
Iranian support for Shi’ite militants in Iraq has included the supply of armor-piercing explosively formed projectiles, as well as other homemade bombs, anti-aircraft weapons, rockets, rocket-propelled grenades and explosives.
About the Author
Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
- Inside the Ring: Dispute between foreign minister, Republican guard commander in Iran
- Inside the Ring: China targets Global Hawk drone
- Inside the Ring: China targeting U.S. spy flights amid escalating tensions
- Inside the Ring: Tensions high during Joe Biden's Beijing visit
- Inside the Ring: U.S. funds China's nuclear security
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Fourth Amendment says Obama is not at liberty to collect metadata
- U.S. Army mulls wiping out memory of Robert E. Lee, 'Stonewall' Jackson
- Half of America strips religion from Christmas
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- Zadzooks: The Joker sixth scale figure review (Sideshow Collectibles)
- Pa. police pull people over for random DNA tests for feds
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Rush weighs in: Maybe Republicans dont dislike Obamacare
- 'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson: Gays 'wont inherit the kingdom of God'
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Lists of top ten movies, songs, funny moments, fashion statements, automobiles, children's names, stupid celebrity moments, first dates, last dates, weddings, and much, much more.
Right-brain investing in a left-brain world. You can do it. I can help.
News and views on the Civil War.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow