Grainy photos of rusty canisters. Damage to a US vehicle after a roadside bomb. Mortar shell case markings in English (rather than in Farsi). A lump of copper embedded in a police car.
An ID card allegedly belonging to an Iranian undercover agent – complete with his picture in full military uniform and Revolutionary Guard logo.
This is the “conclusive evidence” the US wants us to believe proves not only that Iran is arming the Iraqi resistance, but that its actions are sanctioned by top Iranian leaders.
How do we know this? Apparently Iranian agents captured by US troops confessed as much to their interrogators. Their information was then confirmed by US funded Iranian opposition groups.
This sounds familiar. Remember Tony Blair’s “dodgy dossier”, the “weapons of mass destruction”, the “uranium cake from Niger” and the “45 minute” claims that took us to war four years ago? Now we are asked to suspend disbelief and trust the US government again.
We are told this “proof” is part of a “200 page” classified document that is “inch thick” with evidence.
Only six pages, however, were deemed good enough to withstand public scrutiny.
But even the most casual observer will note that the evidence is not enough to convict a shoplifter, never mind prepare the case for war on Iran.
Faced with widespread scepticism, unofficial “voices” inside the US administration have told journalists they are “deliberately” underplaying the evidence so as not to repeat the mistakes made by former US secretary of state Colin Powell on the eve of the Iraq invasion.
Meanwhile the authoritative US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq, whose report was released a couple of weeks before the latest anonymous briefings, concluded that Iran and Syria are “not likely to be a major driver of violence” in Iraq.
The NIE described the Iraqi resistance as a being led by a myriad of groups, often unknown to each other, that access most of their technical information from the internet.
The material for roadside bombs, as well as tonnes of other weapons, are easily available to the thousands of former soldiers who make up the bulk of the resistance.
The key to the timing of these allegations is the massive build-up of US military power in the Persian Gulf. Meanwhile US troops are sealing off Shia neighbourhoods in the east of Baghdad in preparation for a showdown with rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
This evidence could easily be dismissed as laughable – if it were not for the growing danger that the neocons want to spread their war to Iran and Syria.