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Thursday, May 5, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

U.S. confirms Iran backing for Syria crackdown

WASHINGTON — The United States has determined that Iran is supporting the bloody crackdown by Syrian President Bashar Assad.
  • Related Story: Intel: Iran's IRGC in Syria since 2008; Opposition claims nation occupied April 12

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    Officials said the Assad regime was receiving support from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to quell Syrian protests. They said the evidence of Iranian support was relayed to the United Nations Security Council.

    "We are very conscious of and concerned by the evidence of active Iranian involvement and support on behalf of the Syrian government and its repression of its people," U.S. envoy to the UN, Susan Rice, said.

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    In a briefing on April 26, Ms. Rice did not detail Iranian involvement in Assad's killing of more than 500 protesters. Many of them were killed in main battle tank fire by the Syrian Army, run by Assad's brother and brother-in-law.

    "Instead of listening to their own people, President Assad is disingenuously blaming outsiders while at the same time seeking Iranian assistance in repressing Syria's citizens through the same brutal tactics that have been used by the Iranian regime," Ms. Rice said.

    On April 29, the White House imposed sanctions on IRGC for alleged help to the Assad regime in trying to quell the revolt. But the White House did not elaborate except to say that IRGC's Quds Force was working with Syrian General Intelligence.

    "Iran is providing material support to the Syrian government related to cracking down on unrest in Syria," the White House said. "The conduit for this Iranian material support to the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate is the IRGC-QF."

    Officials confirmed reports by the opposition that Hizbullah was also helping support the Syrian Army and security forces to battle the protesters. They said Hizbullah provided manpower as well as equipment to the Assad regime.

    "The Iranians are helping Assad but they are also hedging their bets and are in contact with the opposition as well," an official said. "IRGC is in contact with the Muslim Brotherhood."

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