Monday, March 31, 2008

Good News from Iraq: 31 Mar 2008

From The Long War Journal, In Pictures: Iranian munitions seized in Iraq (see the slideshow that accompanies the entry).

As the US and Iraqi Army battle the Iranian-backed Mahdi Army and the Special Groups terror cells in central and southern Iraq, the US military in Baghdad has released further information on Iranian-made weapons seized in Iraq. The US has seized numerous weapons caches in the past, with lot numbers and markings clearly linking them back to Iran. Iran has denied any involvement with sending weapons to Iraq, yet it has not explained how these Iranian-manufactured weapons are appearing inside Iraq.

The explosively formed penetrator, or EFP, is one of the signature weapon made by Iran and used by the Mahdi Army and the Special Groups against US and Iraqi forces. The EFP warhead is formed when explosives are detonated behind a machined, metal concave disk. This forms a molten projectile slug that can penetrate the thickest of armor. Iranian-made 107mm rockets and various sizes of mortars are also seized inside Iraq on a regular basis.

The latest Iranian-made weapons cache was seized by US and Iraqi soldiers during a routine operation in Mahmudiyah on March 28. The soldiers found 15 EFPs, more than 100 EFP components, detonation cord, fuses, a bag of homemade explosives, hundreds of rounds, and Iraqi National Police uniforms and rifles.

Iran established the Ramazan Corps in western Iran to manage the covert war inside Iraq in early 2003. The Ramazan Corps is an arm of Qods Force, the special operations branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. The Ramazan Corps is responsible for smuggling weapons and cash into the Mahdi Army and the Special Groups terror cells, as well as recruiting and training Iraqi operatives.

For more information on the Special Groups and Iran's role in the Iraqi insurgency, see Iran's Ramazan Corps and the ratlines into Iraq and Targeting the Iranian "Secret Cells." For more information on the Mahdi Army, see Sadr calls for Mahdi Army cease-fire and Dividing the Mahdi Army.