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Thursday, November 4, 2010     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Iraq takes over control of its border with Iran

BAGHDAD — The Iraqi military has been assigned responsibility for its borders by the United States, officials said.


On Oct. 28, the Baghdad government took responsibility for a joint security station at Al Tib, along the northern border with Iran.

"The official transfer of the property will further the commandos training and enhance their resources, continuing border protection of the Iraqi people," U.S. Army Maj. Christopher Adams, an adviser to the Iraqi military, said.

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Al Tib has been taken over by the Iraqi Border Enforcement Department, Middle East Newsline reported. Officials said the department would be bolstered by Iraq Army personnel.

The security transfer took place amid border tension between Iran and Iraq. Officials said Iranian troops have been infiltrating the Iraqi border in search of Kurdish insurgents.

"They are taking on more responsibility," U.S. Army Capt. Dean Lyon, another adviser, said. "They are securing an entire border, the whole northern province, without direct U.S. involvement."

The U.S. military had been stationed at Al Tib since 2008. For years, U.S. and Iraqi troops shared patrol and other duties along a 100-kilometer stretch of the border with Iran.

Officials said border forces have sought to focus on blocking Iranian infiltration and smuggling. They cited the flow of Iranian weapons, including rockets, from Teheran to Shi'ite militias in Iraq.

"Our primary mission was to interdict the threat of smuggling lethal aids, which may be manufactured across the border," Adams said.

The U.S. military has trained a core of commandos for border security missions. The Border Enforcement Department has been responsible for about 300 posts along the borders with Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey.

"This is a big step forward for them overall," Lyon said.

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