For several months, the U.S. government has been urging the Iraqi government to stop Iran from supplying arms to the Syrian regime through commercial flights over Iraqi airspace, but a larger amount of supplies is now crossing Iraq via convoys on the ground, Iraq's exiled Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi told The Cable.Surprise! It's October and it appears that Obama's decision to completely withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq has wasted all the blood, money and effort we expended there.
. . . Hashimi said he has evidence and reports from politicians, from officers in the Interior Ministry, and from Iraqi intelligence officials, all pointing to a growing and active ground transport route from Iran to Syria. The route crosses through the Zarbatia checkpoint on the Iran-Iraq border, west of the Iranian town of Mehran, flows through the city of Karbala, and crosses over to Syria via the al-Qaim border crossing, he said.
"The transit is not only aerial using Iraqi airspace, but the ground transit is becoming a phenomenon. Munitions, heavy arms, and even militias are passing checkpoints without any sort of obstruction," Hashimi said in a telephone interview. "I am very afraid the U.S. and the international community is only focused on the aerial transit and leaving behind the ground transit. Everything should be checked now."
"The convoys from Iran continue on this route without any checking. A huge number of busses and trucks are passing the checkpoints all the way from the Iranian border to the Syrian border, passing through al-Anbar [province] without stopping at the checkpoints," he said. "If these convoys are carrying ordinary passengers, they should stop at least to stamp their passports. If they are carrying food and medicine, why are they not stopping at the checkpoints?"
A U.S. administration official confirmed to The Cable that the U.S. government suspects Iraq is still allowing Iran to ship supplies to Assad via both air and land routes, but that there's no way to prove that Maliki is lying when he says the shipments contain only humanitarian supplies.