Missile may have come from Iran

Iran IraqThe Daily Telegraph reported on May 9 that the Army now believes the Lynx helicopter shot down over central Basra at last weekend was most probably hit by a surface-to-air missile, obtained possibly from neighboring Iran, after missile casings were discovered on the third floor of a nearby building.

The discovery, if confirmed, will be a worrying development for British operations in Iraq, which are increasingly reliant on helicopter "air bridges" to move men and equipment to reduce the risk of convoys being ambushed by roadside bombs.

The discarded missile parts were located when a search was conducted of the building as British troops swept the surrounding area.

The missile is understood to have been identified as a Russian-made weapon that can be packed into a golf bag and quickly assembled and fired by one person with minimal training.

Many Iraqi groups have expressed concerns lately that Iran’s influence has expanded to Iraqi parliament.

Al-Ghad, a Jordanian daily newspaper reported on May 8 that Saleh Mutlaq, leader of National Dialogue Front, warned against expansion of Iran’s influence in Iraq and the dangers it poses to the security, sovereignty and Arab identity of that country.

In an exclusive interview with Al-Ghad, he pointed out, "Iran’s influence in Iraq is a reality, so much that it has expanded to the country’s institutions and even into the parliament." He added, "Some members of the Iraqi Parliament are actually Iranian."

He said, "If Arabs know of the level and amount of dangers caused by Iranian influence in Iraq, they would rise up to help Iraq and protect its future and Arabism."

Mutlaq called on Arab countries to "adopt serious positions to assist Iraq and save it from Iran’s occupation which is no less dangerous than America’s."

Meanwhile Iraqi Foreign Ministry protested the arrest of four Iraqis by Iranian guards at the border region Iraq and Iran, Al-Iraqiy TV station reported on May 9.

According to this TV station the Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on Iranian officials to free four Iraqi citizens arrested late last month in Bahardeh region of Basra Province.

The Ministry handed its letter of protest to the Embassy of the Islamic Republic in Baghdad and stressed that such incidents must not be repeated otherwise they will not help bilateral relations between the two countries.