The confusion over the Quds Force—what exactly they’re doing in Iraq and how they came to be there—has created a dangerous ambiguity about the Iranian operatives who are now being targeted by U.S. forces. That became clear late last year when key Iraqi politicians complained that U.S. troops had arrested two Iranians who were guests of the Iraqi government….

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki “wanted Iran’s help and said you can influence this issue,” Ameri said in an interview. “This led to the Iranians sending the group with the diplomatic passports.” He added: “They had a meeting with me and we talked about how to put pressure on the Jaish Mahdi [Mahdi Army] not to attack Sunnis … how to prevent the Jaish Mahdi from working against the government and not to raise their weapons illegally.”

Today, the broader U.S. intelligence community, including the CIA and the Directorate of National Intelligence—which nominally oversees the agency—seems to have reached a consensus that the ordnance on display in the Baghdad slide show was made in Iran and transported over the border somehow by the Quds Force….But the documentation remains scant. And considerable doubts continue to surface about the intelligence presented at the Baghdad slide show, including the fact that the writing on the conventional weapons displayed was in English, not Farsi. U.N. Ambassador Zarif also says that the date markings are American-style—that is, the month comes first. “There is every reason to believe that this evidence is fabricated,” he said. U.S. officials say the weapons were apparently built for the international market….


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