Iran Supplying IEDs to Sunni Insurgency?

(Updated below)

I first debunked this pathetic lie 11 months ago (a few days after Bush unveiled it):

While President Bush was threatening Iran on Monday, he blamed the Iraqi Shiites and Iran for the insurgency. According to the AFP, Bush said that:

“Tehran has been responsible for at least some of the increasing lethality of anti-coalition attacks by providing Shia militia with the capability to build improvised explosive devices in Iraq.”

I know what you’re thinking: President Bush is so stupid that giant mistakes like this should just be taken with a grain of salt. Even if he’s lashing out at Iran for intervening in the affairs of the Iraqi Shia, surely he’s not blaming the “improvised explosive devices” that are killing American soldiers and Marines in Iraq on the Shia. … Wrong. That’s exactly what he was doing.

“Asked about the linkage to Shiite forces, two US officials who declined to be named pointed to previously reported ties between the government of Iran and radical Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr.”

The first problem is that the next day General Pace said he had no evidence whatsoever to back up the president’s false assertions and Secretary Rumsfeld just dissembled. The second is that the last time al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army was in violent conflict with the US was back in August of 2004 and the roadside bomb was not their tactic, those have been the tool of the home-grown Sunni insurgency which is led by the ex-Ba’athists and the recently under fire foreign fighter jihadist types.

Though al-Sadr has openly threatened war if America were to bomb Iran, he had been known as the leader of the least Iran-loyal faction among the Iraqi Shia, denouncing the federalism in the new constitution, and insisting on Iraqi nationalism regardless of religion and ethnicity. Recently, his political fortunes have been said to be on the rise, and though that may be in conflict with some genius’s plan to spread the war, a leader of the Iraqi insurgency he is not.

Is it possible that Iran is supplying bomb material to the Sunnis, seeing advantage in keeping America bogged down in its fight against the insurgency and forced to allow for expanded Iranian influence in Iraq? Sure, as far as I know, but I’ve seen no evidence of that, and it wasn’t the accusation in this case.

Professor Juan Cole thrashes that lying, tape recording, Judy Miller-wannabe, Michael R. Gordon of the New York Times about this same garbage today:

Over all, only a fourth of US troops had been killed Baghdad (713 or 23.7 percent of about 3000) through the end of 2006. But US troops aren’t fighting Shiites anyplace else– Ninevah, Diyala, Salahuddin–these are all Sunni areas. For a fourth of US troops to be being killed or wounded by Shiite EFPs, all of the Baghdad deaths would have to be at the hands of Shiites!

The US military often does not announce exactly where in Baghdad a GI is killed and so I found it impossible to do a count of Sunni versus Shiite neighborhoods. But we know that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was running interference for the Mahdi Army last fall, and it seems unlikely to me that very many US troops died fighting Shiites in Baghdad. The math of Gordon’s article does not add up at all if this were Shiite uses of Iran-provided EFPs.

So the unnamed sources at the Pentagon are reduced to implying that Iran is giving sophisticated bombs to its sworn enemies and the very groups that are killing its Shiite Iraqi allies every day. Get real!

Moreover, there is no evidence of Iranian intentions to kill US troops. If Iran was giving EFPs to anyone, it was to the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq and its Badr Corps paramilitary, for future use. SCIRI is the main US ally in Iraq aside from the Kurds. I don’t know of US troops killed by Badr, certainly not any time recently.

Do ya’ll think that anyone in congress besides Dr. Paul understands what any of this means? The Democrats’ new head of the House Intelligence Committee doesn’t even know what Hezbollah is or that al-Qaeda is made up of radical Sunnis. Could these idiot so-called “representatives” of ours even assemble a coherent thought on this topic in their tiny little brains? Coherent enough to counter the Cheney regime on the eve of war?

Update: MSNBC reports:

“U.S. officials said there was no evidence of Iranian-made EFPs having fallen into the hands of Sunni insurgents who operate mainly in Anbar province in the west of Iraq, Baghdad and regions surrounding the capital.”

Okay, Iran is supplying bombs to who then? Not, they admit, to America’s enemies in Iraq – the “Sunni Insurgency” – but,

to what the military officials termed “rogue elements” of the Mahdi Army militia of anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. He is a key backer of Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The U.S. officials glossed over armaments having reached the other major Shiite militia organization, the Badr Brigade. It is the military wing of Iraq’s most powerful Shiite political organization, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, whose leaders also have close ties to the U.S.



And how do we even know this much is true?

“‘We know more than we can show,’ said one of the senior officials, when pressed for tangible evidence that the EFPs were made in Iran.”

We have to trust them because they have secret information we don’t know about.

Comments welcome at Stress.

Author: Scott Horton

Scott Horton is editorial director of, director of the Libertarian Institute, host of Antiwar Radio on Pacifica, 90.7 FM KPFK in Los Angeles, California and podcasts the Scott Horton Show from He’s the author of the 2017 book, Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan and editor of The Great Ron Paul: The Scott Horton Show Interviews 2004–2019. He’s conducted more than 5,000 interviews since 2003. Scott lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, investigative reporter Larisa Alexandrovna Horton. He is a fan of, but no relation to the lawyer from Harper’s. Scott’s Twitter, YouTube, Patreon.