British special forces have crossed into Iran several times in recent months as part of a secret border war against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Al-Quds special forces, defence sources have disclosed.
There have been at least half a dozen intense firefights between the SAS and arms smugglers, a mixture of Iranians and Shi’ite militiamen.
The unreported fighting straddles the border between Iran and Iraq and has also involved the Iranian military firing mortars into Iraq. UK commanders are concerned that Iran is using a militia ceasefire to step up arms supplies in preparation for an offensive against their base at Basra airport.
The article says the special operations forces include a squadron of British SAS, some Australian SAS and US special operations troops. If I had to guess I'd say the US force is Delta force since it is the US equivalent to the SAS troops.
An SAS sabre squadron, btw, consists of 60 to 80 men. So with the Brit and Aussie SAS plus D-boys, I'd bet Al-Quds has its hands full at the moment.
They are patrolling the border, ambushing arms smugglers bringing in surface-to-air missiles and components for roadside bombs. “Last month, they were involved in six significant contacts, which killed 17 smugglers and recovered weapons, explosives and missiles,” a source said. It was not clear if any of the dead were Iranian.
Again, guessing here, but they're probably not grabbing "surface-to-air" missiles, but instead the surface-to-surface 240mm missiles that have been raining down on US and Brit positions for the last few months.
It is also quite clear that Iran wants to have defacto control over the souther provinces in Iraq and have been stepping up their attempt to make it so. The Brits are quite candid about the involvement of Iran's government:
The Al-Quds force has been increasing its arms supplies to both the Shi’ite militias in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Officially, Britain has been careful not to blame the Iranian government.
But senior British officials have confirmed to The Sunday Times that it would not happen without the backing of the Iranian leadership.
They pointed out that Gen Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Al-Quds force, has direct access to Ayatollah Khamenei, supreme leader of Iran
Liam Fox, the Conservative defence spokesman, said: “Increasingly Iran poses a direct threat to our armed forces and our wider interests . . . they are playing a very dangerous game.”
Anyone who still believes this is a rogue force within Iran operating outside of the Iranian leadership needs to check their credibility at the door. The war on the border now going on is doing so in the shadows because neither side want, at least at the present, the confrontation that would be inevitable if what is going on becomes more visible. In the interim, covert warfare will rage along the Iran/Iraq border as Coalition Special Operators attempt to put Iranian Special Operators and their proxies out of business.
UPDATE: Cernig at Newshoggersseems to find it interesting that I apparently buy into this story about the SAS conducting operations on the Iranian side of the border. He uses a paragraph further down in the story to suggest it isn't happening:
Last week, Bob Ainsworth, the armed forces minister, said the Ministry of Defence was unable to say whether British troops had killed or captured any Iranians in Iraq. The ministry declined to comment, but privately officials insisted British troops never carry out hot pursuit across the border.
Of course unmentioned is the fact that "hot pursuit" is considerably different than purposeful operations conducted to interdict men and munitions coming in from Iran. Hot pursuit means literally chasing an enemy unit back across a border and continuing the pursuit even after the border has been crossed. So it isn't at all surprising to me that "officials" claimed that we're not doing what we're not talking about or that Newshoggers doesn't know the difference.
What's described in the article is not only plausible, but probable. Or, said another way, I'd be shocked if we weren't doing this. It is simply the best way to handle a situation that everyone knows must be handled.
We and the UK know we have to stop that flow of munitions and Iranian Quds force types into Iraq. We can do that publicly by moving thousands of troops to the border and engaging in "hot pursuit" type actions which will merely ratchet up the hostilities, or we can pursue a covert course with highly trained elite units who know precisely how to effectively carry out this sort of a campaign without making too much noise about it.
Another point that Cernig finds extremely interesting is the transit of some U2s through the UK to the Middle East. He seems to think we use U2s to spot smugglers and Quds force border crossers. Hardly. Global Hawk and Predator drones are more than adequate for that job. U2s are rarely if ever committed to such minutia. They're strategic assets which are used to monitor such things as nuclear facilities, military installations and defenses. We'd hardly waste a U2 on trying to chase down a bunch of border crossers. I'm not sure why such assets being in that theater come as a surprise given Iran's nuclear ambitions. And no, they're not "good" for targeting strikes on fixed targets. We have completely different platforms that do that. They're recon birds ... period.
And so it begins Bush*tler prepares his "Gdansk Question" for his quest for more war, more death, more wealth AND his inevitable bid to declare a National Emergency and the suspension of the ’08 Elections. When o when we Nancy Pelosi begin the Impeachment...When O When will Oliver show up to second my plea when o when will Dr Erb show up to defend the innocent Iranian people?
Really, does this need to be in the newpapaer? It’s what needs(ed) to be happening for some time. I suspect it has been happenig for some time. Certainly it happened in Vietnam and Borneo. I suspected it would occur in Iraq, too. Just does EVERYTHING have to appear on-line?
Yes, go Nancy. Ring that impeachment bell. Respond to your loyal acolytes. Code Pink is right. So is A.N.S.W.E.R. and (don’t)MoveOn.org. Everybody in the US is *just* like the average moonbat libtard in SF. Push impeachment now. Hurry. You need to get it done before the next presidential election is in full swing.
And certainly we wouldn’t want to upset those Progressive mullahs. In fact, I urge all loyal Progressives in the US to make a pilgrimage to Tehran to swear allegiance to the Ayotollah as soon as possible. That will facilitate the impeachment process, trust me.
all loyal Progressives in the US to make a pilgrimage to Tehran to swear allegiance to the Ayotollah as soon as possible. That will facilitate the impeachment process, trust me.
You sad arrogant little mouth-breating God-bag, the Ayotollah is DEAD! Still I do urge Progressives to rally around the Middle East’s functional democracy. We need to move on from the ruinous Neo-Con nightmare that we are currently experiencing, this failed attempt at social engineering in Iraq that has done nothing diminish America’s standing in the world whilst enhancing the power and status of Iran...done nothing, unless you count the removal of a maniacal vicious revanchist dictator and the establishment of a multi-ethnic democracy in Iraq as something, but I really don’t think anyone but a Kool Aid drinking Neo-Con could imagine this as good.
McQ the U-2’s are cross border spying on the Iranians, BUT that’s not the only Intelligence Asset that works along the border. Check out the Airborne Reconnaissance System Low. It was designed "to spot a man on a mule", had its debut in SouthCom hunting drug runners. Looks in E/O, Radio AND Radar, MTI.
Interestinginly, the post here is about about a border war concerning Iraq. Meanwhile, today, our NATO ally Turkey was hit by terrorists - crossing the border - operating out of Iraq.
That’s right. Our secular ally Turkey is being attacked - and civillians and troops are being killed - by terrorists operating out of territory protected by American forces. What a wonderful use of our tax dollars.
One would think that the wingers who suppoerted the invasion of Iraq would be concerned about this. But that would be a mistake. Wingers don’t care about real terror attacks. That are happening today, As we speak. To care would be to speak ill about Bush. And that cannot happen.
This is the true border war. How many killed today? And yet, one does not hear a peep from the wingers who continue to support our misadventure in Mesopotamia. Not a peep.
Imagine for just one moment that a Clinton or Gore administration allowed terrorists operating out of a country controlled by American forces to attack secular NATO ally. Just imagine it for one second. The Q and O crowd would be demanind imperachment. Wingers would be going nuts. As well they should.
"...Erb show up to defend the innocent Iranian people?"
You forgot to mention that this will hurt and offend the moderates, who will surely rein in the radicals if only we would negotiate nicely instead of bullying. But then, given the Western proclivity towards violence and aggression, it is probably too much to hope for that we should act reasonably, eschewing emotional and jingoistic actions for logic and rationality.