British general: IED technology may be coming from Iran
ARLINGTON, Va. — Technology for advanced roadside bombs is crossing the border from Iran to Iraq, but it is unknown whether the Iranian intelligence service is involved, said the British general in charge of multinational forces in southern Iraq.
Speaking to reporters via teleconference Friday, Royal Marines Maj. Gen. J.B. Dutton said the coalition has determined that parts and technological know-how for roadside bombs is coming from Iran, but declined to elaborate how he knew that.
He also said he did not know if the Iranian government was involved in moving the parts for roadside bombs across the border, or if other groups were using Iran as a staging area.
Dutton said coalition forces are working with Iraqi authorities to strengthen Iraq’s 900-mile border with Iran, which as of now only has one legal crossing point. One way to improve border security may be to open another checkpoint, making the border easier to police, he said.
Coalition forces also are working to arrest the bomb-makers in Iraq, he said.
“These are Iraqis who are attacking us, not Iranians, even though the wherewithal may be coming from that direction,” Dutton said.
Dutton’s comments come the day after Pentagon officials confirmed a Los Angeles Times report that the Defense Department is thinking about putting a three-star general in charge of the joint task force to combat roadside bombs.
Lt. Gen. James T. Conway, of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters Thursday that the Pentagon’s effort to combat roadside bombs is not wanting for funds or effort, but “it has been discussed, at least — a decision has not been made, but it has been discussed that perhaps adding a three-star oversight to the effort might further enhance its ability to get things done.”
Also Thursday, Conway outlined how the bomb makers are organized: “You have to have a financier to put it all together. You have to have a bomb maker who has the expertise to actually create the device. What we’ve found a lot of times is that one person will lay it, and another person will be the initiator.”
A spokesman for the Combined Press Information Center in Baghdad declined to discuss how the coalition is combating the bomb makers because that information could be useful to the enemy.
“They adapt their tactics and we adapt ours to the changes that they make so to get into specifics about that would have an impact on operations,” said Marines Maj. Tim Keefe.