Tuesday, February 27, 2007

U.S. says it found more Iranian weapons

An arms trove buried in a palm grove in Iraq contains items linked to Iran, the U.S. military says.

The cache included what Maj. Marty Weber, a master explosives ordnance technician, said was C-4 explosive, a white substance, in clear plastic bags with red labels that he said contained serial numbers and other information that clearly marked it as Iranian.

It also contained large numbers of formed copper liners, of the sort needed to make explosively formed projectiles (EFPs), although the origin of those items appeared unknown.

The article makes a big deal about also finding a large amount of clearly non-Iranian material, like PVC pipe made in Iraq and the United Arab Emirates. But that's hardly surprising; innocuous stuff like that would be bought on the open market, then married up with the speciality components needed to make an EFP. In this case, the copper liners appear to have been made specifically to match the size of the PVC. So what you have is an anti-vehicle pipe bomb: Fill a length of PVC with C-4, attach a liner to the top, and you've got an antitank mine.

If the C-4 is clearly linked to Iran, that's another piece of evidence showing Iranian involvement. But it still isn't conclusive -- C-4 is a very common explosive, just like the area is awash in AK-47s and RPGs -- and it still doesn't address the fact that our main opponents in Iraq, the Sunni insurgents, are probably not being supplied by Shiite Iran. Unless the point is that it's the Shiite militias, and not Sunni insurgents, who are now our real enemy.

Meanwhile, still no further word on the Steyr sniper rifles. That story is beginning to look bogus, considering that the provenance of the captured weapons should be easy to check.


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