Iran, and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah, have been actively involved in supporting Shia militias and encouraging sectarian violence in Iraq since the invasion of 2003-and Iranian planning and preparation for that effort began as early as 2002. The precise purposes of this support are unclear and may have changed over time. But one thing is very clear: Iran has consistently supplied weapons, its own advisors, and Lebanese Hezbollah advisors to multiple resistance groups in Iraq, both Sunni and Shia, and has supported these groups as they have targeted Sunni Arabs, Coalition forces, Iraqi Security Forces, and the Iraqi Government itself. Their infl uence runs from Kurdistan to Basrah, and Coalition sources report that by August 2007, Iranian-backed insurgents accounted for roughly half the attacks on Coalition forces, a dramatic change from previous periods that had seen the overwhelming majority of attacks coming from the Sunni Arab insurgency and al Qaeda.
The Coalition has stepped-up its efforts to combat Iranian intervention in Iraq in recent months both because the Iranians have increased their support for violence in Iraq since the start of the surge and because Coalition successes against al Qaeda in Iraq and the larger Sunni Arab insurgency have permitted the re-allocation of resources and effort against a problem that has plagued attempts to establish a stable government in Iraq from the outset. With those problems increasingly under control, Iranian intervention is the next major problem the Coalition must tackle.
Editor's note: The Iraq Report is a regular feature at www.weeklystandard.com and offers detailed reporting and analysis of ongoing Coalition military operations both in Baghdad and throughout Iraq. To read the full report in pdf click here or on the image below.
Previous Iraq Reports:
Iraq Report I: From "New Way Forward" to New Commander, March 1, 2007
Iraq Report II: The Baghdad Security Plan begins., March 15, 2007
Iraq Report III: The Anbar Awakening., April 5, 2007
Iraq Report IV: The Battle for Diyala, May 7,2007
Iraq Report V: The Real Surge, July 6, 2007