Assad's Soldiers, Qusair, Flag 370.
(photo credit: Reuters)
WASHINGTON – Iraq has recognized that Iran consistently uses its air space to
conduct weapons transfers to the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad,
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told a local newspaper on Monday,
stressing that his country’s military could do nothing to stop them.
reject and condemn the transfer of weapons through our airspace and we will
inform the Iranian side of that formally.
But we do not have the ability
to stop it,” he told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat
Iran has provided
Assad’s government with non-lethal assistance, as well as light and heavy arms,
communications equipment, and Iranian boots on the ground, including officers
with extensive military training.
In an apparent plea for assistance,
Zebari called on the international community to enforce Security Council
sanctions on Iran that prohibit its transfer of such military aid to any
“If you imagine these flights breach United Nations Security
Council resolutions banning weapons imports and exports from Iran... I invite
you in the name of the government to help us stop these flights across Iraqi
airspace,” he said.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki attempted to
close the air corridor used by Iran to deliver weapons to Syria briefly in 2012,
after significant US pressure to do so. But it was only a matter of months
before the Iranians renewed the flights.
Zebari noted that Iraq has
consistently denied requests from Assad for cheap oil, and has not aided his
efforts to repel opposition forces fighting for his ouster.
training of the Iraqi military, the US military has spent little on rebuilding
an Iraqi air force or providing the shaken country with an antiaircraft
capability. The US no longer has any planes stationed in the country.
multiple occasions, Iraq has warned Israel against using its airspace to reach
and attack Iranian nuclear facilities.