Friday, November 12, 2004

Bordering on War 

More good news from the Iran-Iraq border.

Islamic extremists have been moving supplies and new recruits from Iran into Iraq, say Iraqi Kurdish and Western officials, though it's unclear whether Tehran is covertly backing them or whether militants are simply taking advantage of the porous border...

Iranian involvement with extremist groups in the Iraqi insurgency would be potentially explosive, especially given the history of U.S.-Iranian animosity. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said recently Iran was engaged in "a lot of meddling" in Iraq but gave no details...

Kurds living in mountainous villages near the border who have traveled inside Iran to visit relatives said they have seen Arabs living in what appeared to be safe houses in the Iranian border town of Mariwan.

Former Ansar prisoners held by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan - one of two Kurdish militias that control the north - have backed up the claim as have PUK intelligence officials.

A U.S. official said Kurdish security forces found passports from Arab countries including Yemen, Egypt and Saudi Arabia buried under the dirt floor in one safe house on the Iranian side of the border.

"We are not just talking about Iranians passively dealing with al-Qaida," one former U.S. official who worked in Iraq said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We are talking about al-Qaida at Revolutionary Guard bases and safe houses. This is active assistance."

The Turkish border says "Don't forget about me!"


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