Iraq’s Foreign Minister has insisted that he is powerless to stop weapons transfers from Iran to Syria across what’s been called an ‘air bridge’ over his country. However, Hadi al-Ameri, Iraq’s Transportation Minister, who has been implicated in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombings (among other things), has expressed loyalty to Iran’s Ayatollah in the past. First, here is an excerpt from a news report about Iraq’s inability to stop the shipments.
Via Fox News:
Iraq lacks the means to stop Iranian arms deliveries to Syria through its airspace, if there are any, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said in comments published on Saturday.
“Last September we started to inspect Iranian and Syrian planes at random. We have found non-lethal materials, like equipment, medicine and food,” Zebari said in an interview published by the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper.
However, as transportation minister, al-Ameri seems to have quite a bit of influence in this area as of late last year, via the New York Times:
There is evidence of collusion between Iranian and Iraqi officials on the inspections, according to American intelligence assessments. In one instance, according to an American intelligence report, Qassim Suleimani, the leader of Iran’s Quds Force, ordered that a flight to Syria carry only humanitarian goods. An Iraqi inspection occurred soon after, when the plane was asked to land in Iraq on Oct. 27.
Much of the American intelligence community’s concerns about possible collusion has focused on Hadi al-Amiri, Iraq’s minister of transportation, who is believed to be close to the Iranians and was among the Iraqi traveling party when Mr. Maliki visited Washington last year. Mr. Amiri said: “This is untrue. We are an independent country and our stance is clear. We will search whichever plane we want, whenever we want. We will not take orders.”
Al-Ameri is indeed a very powerful political figure in Iraq who has accumulated a ruthless reputation as a terrorist. There should be no doubt where his loyalties lie:
According to a New York Times article from last month, the Obama administration is planning to provide weapons to Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood rebels. As such, the administration is taking sides in Syria. It is siding with the Brotherhood, which makes it a bit disingenuous for it to say it’s not siding with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
And Egyptian people know it.