Pentagon plans base along Iran border
The Pentagon is preparing to build a base near the Iraq-Iran border in an effort to stem the flow of "advanced Iranian weaponry" to Shiite militants in Iraq, according to Monday's edition of the Wall Street Journal.
"The push also includes construction of fortified checkpoints on the major highways leading from the Iranian border to Baghdad and the installation of X-ray machines and explosives-detecting sensors at the only formal border crossing between Iran and Iraq," the Journal said.
The move comes amid continuing reports of US plans to strike Iran and several weeks after a RAW STORY report which signaled that the US had shifted its focus from Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program to its alleged shipment of IEDs across the Iraq-Iran border as the principal rationale in selling a possible attack.
“There is clear evidence that someone in Iran is manufacturing the EFPs,” a source currently working with military and intelligence joint operations in the Middle East told RAW STORY. “They have a distinctive signature. These devices are being used against US troops, Sunnis, and even some Shi'as.”
“This is viewed by some in the Bush Administration as sufficient justification for taking military action against Iran,” said the source, who wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the topic.
In its report Monday, the Journal echoed the US argument that Iran is funneling weapons to extremists in Iraq.
"Gen. Petraeus is expected to warn that Iran is expanding its attempts to destabilize Iraq by providing Shiite extremists with lethal weaponry such as advanced roadside bombs capable of breaching even the strongest U.S. armor," the Journal says. "U.S. commanders say that Iranian-made weaponry is used in an increasing percentage of attacks on U.S. forces, and that Shiite extremists are now responsible for as many anti-American attacks as Sunni radicals."
Iran denies supplying weapons to Iraqi militants. Intelligence officials have told RAW STORY that some weapons manufactured in Iran -- including explosively formed penetrators, armor-piercing bombs -- are killing American troops in Iraq. Officials caution, however, that there is no evidence these devices are manufactured by the Iranian government or that the government knows of their shipment.
The new U.S. base is to be built about four miles from the Iranian border.
The U.S. officer overseeing the project, Maj. Toby Logsdon, "says that the new base will have living quarters for at least 200 soldiers. He hopes U.S. forces will begin living at the new outpost in November."
"Iran will know this is here -- they will have to rethink how they do things, and the smugglers will have to rethink how they do things," he told the Journal.
"The challenge of preventing Shiite militants from smuggling weaponry and explosives across the largely porous Iraqi-Iranian border was apparent on a recent visit to Wasit, a sparsely populated Iraqi province that abuts the long border between the two countries," the paper adds. "There is no fence or wall separating Iran and Iraq, and the border itself is unmarked."
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