News

US Wants Iraq to Block Iran Weapons Sales to Syria

The United States wants Iraq to stop Iran from using Iraqi airspace to ship weapons to Syria.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is one of the last major suppliers of military intelligence and weapons to embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

U.S. officials say Iran's support for the Syrian government, along with help from Russia, is one of the biggest reasons that President Assad has survived a year-long uprising.  Most of those Iranian weapons are flown to Syria through Iraq, which also supports Assad.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says Baghdad should prevent the shipments.

"We are making the point that any export of arms or related materials from Iran, frankly, to any destination would be a violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1747, and that any arms sent to the Syrian regime at this time would obviously be used in the brutal repression that the regime is exacting on its own people," said Nuland.

Foreign policy analyst Malou Innocent says Iran enhances its regional power by supporting President Assad.

"Assad's government has been seen as a sort of an arm of the Iranian government in terms of assisting proxy forces in Lebanon through Hezbollah and also with Hamas," said Innocent.

In Lebanon, supporters of Sunni cleric Ahmad al-Assir oppose Iran's involvement in Syria because they say it undermines Lebanese security.

''When we started our movement, many people told us, 'We agree there is injustice in Syria, but we are afraid,'" al-Assir noted.  "When I asked them why, they say they are afraid of the allies of Syria, like Hezbollah."

Iran says clerics such as al-Assir and Saudi calls to arm Syria's opposition show the need for Tehran's Shia leaders to back President Assad against a Sunni-led power grab.

"There has certainly been a sharpening division between Shia and Sunni blocks within the region.  We have seen that now play out not only in Libya and in Syria and Iran, but also in Bahrain and in Yemen," added Innocent.

Iraqi officials say they have no interest in helping Iran prolong Syria's uprising as Syrian refugees from the conflict come to Iraqi Kurdistan.  U.S. officials say senior members of the government in Baghdad have expressed a commitment to ensure that Iraqi territory and airspace are not used as a transit point for Iranian weapons to Syria.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs