New York, Oct. 23 (ANI): American intelligence reports have alarmingly revealed that Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard and its Lebanese ally, the Hezbollah played a significant role in assisting Iraqi militias at the height of the second Gulf war (2003-06).
According to the New York Times, American military officials based in Baghdad had issued a secret warning in December 2006 that a Shiite militia commander was hatching plans to take American soldiers hostage after undergoing training by Middle East masters.
They claimed that Iraqi militant Azhar al-Dulaimi was trained in dark arts of paramilitary operations near Qum, Iran.
Five months later, Dulaimi was tracked down and killed in an American raid in the sprawling Shiite enclave of Sadr City in Baghdad - but not before four American soldiers had been abducted from an Iraqi headquarters in Karbala and executed in an operation that American military officials say literally bore his fingerprints.
During the administration of President George W. Bush, critics charged that the White House had exaggerated Iran's role to deflect criticism of its handling of the war and build support for a tough policy toward Iran, including the possibility of military action.
But the field reports disclosed by WikiLeaks, which were never intended to be made public, underscore the seriousness with which Iran's role was seen by the American military.
The political struggle between the United States and Iran to influence events in Iraq still continues as Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has sought to assemble a coalition - that would include the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr - that will allow him to remain in power.
But much of the American's military concern has revolved around Iran's role in arming and assisting Shiite militias.
According to the NYT, Iraqi militants went to Iran to be trained as snipers and in the use of explosives. It quotes field reports as asserting that Iran's Quds Force collaborated with Iraqi extremists to encourage the assassination of Iraqi officials.
The reports make it clear that the lethal contest between Iranian-backed militias and American forces continued after President Obama sought to open a diplomatic dialogue with Iran's leaders and reaffirmed the agreement between the United States and Iraq to withdraw American troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.
While the American government has long believed that the Quds Force has been providing lethal assistance and training to Shiite militants in Iraq, the field reports provide new details about Iran's support for Iraqi militias and the American military's operations to counter them.
The reports are written entirely from the perspective of the American-led coalition. No similar Iraqi or Iranian reports have been made available. Nor do the American reports include the more comprehensive assessments that are typically prepared by American intelligence agencies after incidents in the field. (ANI)