Iranian Backed Group Plots Rocket Attacks on Troops in Iraq: Odierno

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps continues to train and arm Shia extremist groups in Iraq attempting to attack U.S. bases with a crudely built, but potentially very deadly, improvised rocket-assisted mortar, or what the military calls IRAM, Iraq commander Gen. Ray Odierno told Defense Tech this morning.

IRAM is basically a flying IED, consisting of a propane tank or other canister stuffed with explosives and launched by a rocket motor from simple rails mounted in a flat-bed truck into a base or outpost. It’s the quantity of explosives contained in the crude devices which makes them so deadly; some contained upwards of 100 pounds of high explosive. The crude Katyushas are parked near a base’s perimeter wall, the rails angled toward the target, and the rockets launched over the walls.

A group named Kataib Hezbollah, Iranian funded and controlled by Tehran, has received specialized training in Iran in the use of the Katyusha like IRAM, Odierno said at the press roundtable. “They’re very primitive… but it can cause mass casualties,” he said. Shia groups have attempted a number of IRAM attacks over the past few years, although most have failed. The latest intelligence indicates Kataib Hezbollah has refined the weapon and their tactics and over the last few weeks have been preparing some kind of mass attack, Odierno said.

Odierno said the Iraq draw down is on schedule and that the force level will be reduced to 50,000 by the end of August. The plan is to keep those 50,000 troops in Iraq through summer 2011, he said, then reassess the security situation and the proper troop level. All U.S. forces are scheduled to leave Iraq by December 2011.

The Army is looking at reducing the length of soldier’s combat tours in Iraq from 12 months down to 9 months, although no final decision has yet been made, Odierno said.

— Greg Grant

  • JEFF

    Its times like this that make me wonder, maybe we should give them something else to invest that money into… like filling in craters and replacing buildings that stood at that crater.

    • William C.

      Hopefully THAT would prove the value of stealth bombers and attack aircraft to the senators who try to cut those projects to pay for pork in their district.

  • Bob

    I am sure POTUS will have a terse word or two with Iran, for meddleing in Iraq. That should solve the problem, while we are withdrawing all of troops.

  • MDB

    Oh, you mean the IRAM’s that have been around since 2008. Come along, somebody do the background analysis please before heading off on a ‘new threat’ piece.

  • Oblat

    This is so transparently an attempt to shift attention from the recent terrorist attack in Iran by a US backed group.

    What is really damning is that after years of these claims we have yet to see a single piece of evidence linking Iran to any attacks in Iraq. If Iran was really involved there would be Katyushas raining down on the green zone not silly “Katyusha like” propane canisters.

  • Bob

    No, but he is the commander in chief. He is in charge of the war, not some general. Wake up and smell the coffiee.

  • blight

    You have no way of knowing if those representatives were “official”, or just people with their own agenda akin to Ahmad Chalabi.

  • Steve

    I think it’s high time to do some SERIOUS (Radioactively-Serious) meddling in Iran.
    Or, let the Israelis do it.

    • Chops

      Completely agree–or maybe take the Iranian and NK leaders and give them a one way trip to the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

  • Guest

    When an iranian commander confirms that his country finances and trains men to attack US bases, couldn’t that be considered an act of war?

  • IronV

    Huh? Bush also allowed the Quds and Revolutionary Guards to act with impunity. What makes Obama’s refusal to act special?

  • DShirley

    Some of you posting are a little nieve……the General is referring to “surrogates”…the same type of “surrogates” that are fighting against Israel who are “trained” and “armed” by Iran.

    So, when has Israel attacked Iran in response to the surrogates launching attacks and rockets??

    Did the Soviets attack the US for our sponsoring, arming, and supporting of the “freedom fighters” in Afghanistan in the 1980s??

    The last time the US attacked another nation sponsoring a “surrogate” type force was North Vietnam….correct me if I’m wrong!

    • Alberto

      The last time the US attacked another nation sponsoring a “surrogate” type force was North Vietnam….correct me if I’m wrong! ”

      you’re wrong… a far from exhaustive list would include: Libya, Sudan, Afghanistan, Yemen…

  • sglover

    Still the same old idiot readership here, always bellowing for more war from the safety of their basements….

    • cavscout

      Oddly enough sglover, I read (past tense) and responded to Defense Tech threads while in Baghdad……

  • Retired1

    WEATHER REPORT FOR TEHRAN…2,000 degrees, and Very Bright.

  • roland

    I believe it is imperative we that we know who is supporting who. Taliban when it first set foot in Afghanistan were supported by Arab countries. Now according to WikiLeaks, suggest that Pakistan, an ostensible ally of the United States, allows representatives of its spy service to meet directly with the Talibanin secret strategy sessions to organize networks of militant groups that fight against American soldiers in Afghanistan, and even hatch plots to assassinate Afghan leaders. Its good to have good knowledge of the enemy and its supporters in order to have greater chances of winning the war against the terrorist.

  • anthony

    Time to show we are the best lets attack Iran and Saudi Arabia for their partin 9/11 Pakistan also nothing but terror netwerkts.Long overdue….