[The Times, U.K.]



Azzaman, Iraq

Iraqi Intelligence Charges

Iran with Helping al-Qaeda


"The head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, Muhamad Abdullah Al-Shahwani, criticized the Iranian intelligence services for seeking to, 'abort the experiment with the Awakening Councils' which are battling elements of al-Qaeda in Iraq."


By Karim Abd Zair in Baghdad and Nadal Al-Laithy in London


Translated By James Jacobson and Nicolas Dagher


February 28, 2008


Iraq - Azzaman - Original Article (Arabic)

The head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, Muhamad Abdullah Al-Shahwani , yesterday criticized the Iranian intelligence services for seeking to, “abort the experiment with the Awakening Councils ,” which are battling elements of al-Qaeda in Iraq. For his part, an advisor to the Awakening Councils, Tamir Al-Tamimi, told Azzaman, "the Awakening Councils have been targeted by the Iranians, either directly or indirectly, through terrorist organizations that cooperate with Iran, such as al-Qaeda."


He explained that these targetings often consist of attacks with explosive devices, suicide bombers or car bombs. Replying to a question about the government's relationship to the [Shiite] militias, Al-Tamimi said: “There is no contact or coordination with them.” He also stressed that, “the Awakening Councils are always exposed to misbehavior from the militias, as has frequently occurred in neighborhoods of Baghdad such as Abu Ghraib, Al-Taji, Al-Basam, and the neighborhoods of Al-Amil, Al-Azmia, Al-Fadal, and others.” And he said, “We have always opposed and responded to such misbehavior.”


Al-Tamimi stressed that, “The government's problem isn’t just material.” He pointed out that a number of senior officials refuse to recognize the Awakening Councils and the positive role they have played in bringing new hope. And he emphasized that this "non-recognition has a negative impact on our work.”


Expanding on a statement issued by the Iraqi Intelligence Service, Al-Shahwani said that there is now information to confirm that throughout Iraq, Iranian intelligence has been paying certain elements to undermine the Awakening Councils.


About 80,000 people have joined the Awakening Councils since the beginning of last year, boosting the total number to 130,000. With the financial support of the American Army, the Councils were created to confront al-Qaeda when the government proved incapable of addressing the country's security situation.


For his part, U.S. Embassy spokesman Philip Reeker said, “The fingerprints of Iranian intervention in Iraqi affairs are clear if one looks at the attempts to create sectarian violence in Iraq, as well as their support of several armed groups.” He said that it's the hope of the American government that Iran will contribute to the stability and security of Iraq.


Screen grab of British hostage Peter Moore, kidnapped eight minths ago with four other Britons and being held by an unidentified group thought to be supported by Iran.

Iraqi intelligence, without revealing the name of their sources, said that on Thursday, Iran paid for the distribution of a video tape that shows one of the five Britons who were kidnapped from the Ministry of Finance building in central Baghdad on May 29, 2007 WATCH  . The release of the tape came in the form of a reply to the arrest of 14 members of Iranian intelligence and members of the Revolutionary Guard by American forces south of Baghdad. They were caught with maps, building plans and instructions on how to assemble IEDs, and mortar shells.


The tape included an interview with a man who spoke in English. He said his name was Peter Moore and that he had been detained for nearly eight months. [Moore worked for BearingPoint, a U.S.-based management consulting firm]. The tape is thought to have been recorded a month ago. It's likely that the hostages were taken from Baghdad to the border region close to Iran under the protection of powerful militias that operate there. Iraqi Intelligence chief Al-Shahwani said that, "the group that claimed responsibility, the Islamic Shiite Resistance in Iraq, is fictitious. There is no armed faction that bears that name." It is thought likely that a group attached to one of the Iranian groups working in Iraq.



Tension between the Americans and Iranians has escalated since the Iranian side rejected a meeting on Iraq's security with the Americans, and governmental officials in Baghdad said that a number militia and religious party officials have denied any knowledge of the abduction of the five Britons. Prime Minister Maliki, in order to mediate a solution to this issue, canceled one of his visits to Basra at the end of last year, but failed to obtain a clear answer, according to one of his advisers. 



In this connection, the British Prime Minister's office announced yesterday that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown held talks about the video tape with Prime Minister Maliki.



























[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US March 5, 10:45pm]