U.S. Officials Confirm Iran Has Been Bombing The Islamic State
Stuart Winer, writing in the December 2, 2014 edition of The Times of Israel, reports that a U.S. official has confirmed that “Iranian jets are bombing targets of the Islamic State group in Iraq, — although, the operation is not [officially] part of the ongoing U.S.-led coalition effort to help local militias defeat the jihadi extremists.” Mr. Winer adds that “the admission came a day after the emergence of video footage that appeared to show an Iranian fighter jet striking targets in northern Iraq.” “We are aware of that,” the official told The Huffington Post on Monday, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “I wouldn’t say we’re necessarily concerned with it — we kind of have our eyes on it.
Mr. Winer notes that Al Jazeera “published the grainy video, which showed what looked to be an F-4 Phantom jet on a bombing run near the town of Sa’adiya, near the Iran/Iraq border. The video was later taken down,” he wrote. “The clip generated speculation among military pundits as to which air force the plane was from, as only two countries in the region still operate Phantom jets — Turkey and Iran.”
Mr. Winer notes that Turkey has been a reluctant participant in the U.S.-led coalition to combat ISIS — particularly over their belief that Washington must commit to taking out Syrian President Bashar Assad as part of any overall strategy to defeat the Islamic State. “That left only Iran as the source of the jet, a speculation heightened by the location of the incident, so close to the Iranian border. The airstrike seemed to be in support of a joint operation by the Iraqi military and Kurdish peshmerga forces — to retake the towns of Sa’adiya and Jawlala on November 25, near the Iranian border the Times claimed.
The highly regarded defense publication — Janes Defense Weekly — “identified the plane as most likely being Iranian; and, noted that in recent weeks [they] had seen increasing evidence of Iranian military equipment in the hands of Iraqi units. The U.S. official told the Huffington Post that the bombing took place in an area where coalition forces are not active, and there were thus — no expectations of any interaction between Iranian and allied aircraft.” V/R, RCP