AFP: Iran is funding extremist groups in Iraq out of fear of a strong democracy as a neighbor, the commander of US forces in Iraq said Sunday.
WASHINGTON (AFP) — Iran is funding extremist groups in Iraq out of fear of a strong democracy as a neighbor, the commander of US forces in Iraq said Sunday.
“I think they don’t want to see Iraq turn into a strong democratic country, General Ray Odierno told CNN.
“They would rather see it become a weak governmental institution so they don’t add more problems for Iran in the future.”
Odierno said Iran is funding and training Shia extremists in Iraq in an effort to improve insurgents’ capabilities.
He said they were working partly to attack US forces, but also “to make sure that everybody understands that they can have some impact in the country.”
“They clearly want to see a certain type of government that is formed here,” he said.
His comments came just days after the last US combat brigade left Iraq, more than seven years after the US-led invasion that ousted dictator Saddam Hussein.
But unrest continues there, with a suicide bomber killing 59 people at a Baghdad army recruiting center this week and a spike in violence in July.