Iraq Turns Blind Eye to Iran Arms Flights to Syria: US

Iraq Turns Blind Eye to Iran Arms Flights to Syria: US

Baghdad is “looking the other way” as Iran sends military equipment through Iraqi airspace to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime amid the ongoing conflict in Syria, a US official said.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, called on Iraq to randomly search Iranian planes flying to Syria, and said Washington had complained to “all levels of the Iraqi government” about the lack of inspection.

Asked who in the Iraqi government Washington had spoken to about its concerns, the US official replied, “All levels of the Iraqi government.”

The US has persistently called on Iraq to inspect Iranian planes flying to Syria via Baghdad’s airspace, despite Iranian insistence that they are only carrying humanitarian supplies.

Iraq has publicly announced having searched two planes, both in October.

The New York Times reported in December that Iran appears to have been tipped off by Iraqi officials as to when plane inspections would be conducted, thus helping Tehran avoid detection.

Iran has remained a steadfast ally of Assad’s regime despite the conflict in his country which according to the United Nations has killed more than 70,000 people since it erupted in March 2011.

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