Before dawn on Dec. 21, U.S. forces raided the Baghdad compound of Sheik Abdul Aziz al Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI).
Eight Iraqis and two Iranians were arrested. "Debriefing the detainees and investigation of the seized materials has yielded evidence linking some of the individuals being detained to weapons shipments to illegal armed groups in Iraq," said a slide presented by Maj. Gen. William Caldwell IV at a Dec. 27 briefing.
The raid was significant because SCIRI is part of the United Iraqi Alliance, the Shiite coalition that controls Iraq's government. Founded in exile in Iran, SCIRI controls a militia, the Badr Organization, which was trained in Iran (and which now claims to be a peaceful political organization).
Three weeks after the raid, Gen. Michael Hayden, the CIA director, testified in the Senate Intelligence Committee about "explosively formed projectiles" (EFPs), the most lethal bomb used against U.S. troops in Iraq.
"The EFPs are coming in from Iran," said Hayden. "They are being used against our forces. They are capable of defeating some of our heaviest armor, and incident for incident cause significantly more casualties than any other improvised explosive devices do, and they are provided to Shi'a militia."
This was not a new claim. But what was new after the December raid in Baghdad was the public emergence of circumstantial evidence suggesting that -- in addition to Shiite warlord Moqtada Sadr's Mahdi Army (JAM) -- the Badr Organization might also be involved in attacking Americans with Iranian help.
Last year, the Defense Department reported that Iran provided support to both JAM and Badr. But while DOD pointed a finger at JAM for attacking Americans, it exonerated the Badr Organization of that charge (if not of participating in anti-Sunni death squads).
"The Badr Organization receives financial and material support from Iran, and individuals from Badr have been implicated in death squads," said DOD's August report "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq."
"Like Badr, JAM receives logistical support from Iran," said the report.
The May edition of the report said, "JAM and some smaller Shi'a extremist groups have attacked both Sunni Arabs and Coalition forces."
But the August edition said, "The Badr Organization has not engaged in active violence against Coalition forces or the government of Iraq."
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