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WikiLeaks: Iraq Accuses Iran, Syria of Arming Militants

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (file photo – January 13, 2011)

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (file photo – January 13, 2011)

A document published by WikiLeaks says Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told U.S. diplomats in 2009 that Iran and Syria were providing weapons to insurgents in Iraq.

The leaked document says Mr. Maliki made the comments to Christopher Hill, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq at the time. The website says the prime minister told Hill the weapons included Strela shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles.

WikiLeaks says the document included a comment from an unidentified official at the U.S. embassy in Iraq who says neither the embassy nor multinational forces had any indications of Strela missiles being recently seized in Iraq.

However, Mr. Maliki said five members of Sadrist-affiliated group, Promise Day Brigade, with ties to Iran's elite Quds Force had been captured as they tried to smuggle Strela missiles in a vehicle.

The document appears to have been drafted at a time when tensions were high between Iraq and Syria. Iraqi officials accused forces in Syria of having a role in an October 2009 attack in Baghdad that killed nearly 100 people. Iraq and Syria recalled their ambassadors as part of a diplomatic dispute over the issue.