Pentagon: Iran training pro-regime militias in Syria
August 14th, 2012
05:22 PM ET

Pentagon: Iran training pro-regime militias in Syria

By Larry Shaughnessy

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Tuesday accused Iran of training pro-Assad militias in Syria in an increased effort to to prop up the embattled Syrian president.

"There's now an indication that they're trying to develop - or trying to train a militia within Syria to be able to fight on behalf of the regime," Panetta said during a news briefing at the Pentagon. "We are seeing a growing presence by Iran and that is of deep concern to us that that's taking place."

U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, who briefed the media with Panetta, said this Iranian-trained militia appears to be made up of local civilians, "generally Shia, some Alawite."

But while Iran helps the Bashar al-Assad regime, the United States and others continue to assist the opposition.

The United States is providing non-lethal aid such as communications equipment while other countries are "providing more aggressive assistance to the opposition," said Panetta.

Panetta said instituting a no-fly zone is "not a front burner issue for us," but Dempsey said the United States is talking with others about the option.

"We have been in discussion with Jordanians and and the Turks. They're both interested mostly in the effects that could spill from Syria into their countries. Both have examined the possibility of a safe haven. And with a safe haven would probably come some form of no-fly zone. But we're not planning anything unilaterally," Dempsey said.

As it has from the start of the unrest in Syria, the Pentagon is keeping a close eye on the regime's large stockpile of chemical and biological weapons (CBW).

"We continue to monitor those sites, working with Turkey, working with Jordan. We've been in discussions with Israel, as well, to determine what steps need to be taken to ensure that those sites are secure and maintained so that those weapons don't fall into the wrong hands," Panetta said. "We're continuing to develop plans with the adjoining countries to ensure that they will always be secure."

Even as the fighting rages on, the Pentagon is already talking about what the country may look like if al-Assad is overthrown.

Panetta said the United States does not want a repeat of what happened when the Saddam Hussein regime collapsed and a U.S. diplomat dissolved the Iraqi military.

Panetta said he believes the Syrian military will be needed.

"How do we develop a process to ensure that the different segments of the opposition can come together and be able to organize in some kind of transitional government?" Panetta asked. "How do we deal with some of the other groups like Al Qaida and [the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps]? How do we deal with Hezbollah in this process?"

If President Barack Obama decides the U.S. military should do more in Syria, forces are ready, said Panetta. "There is no question in my mind that we have positioned a sufficient force in the Middle East to deal with any contingency at this time."

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  13. proud american

    I'm an American. Born and raised here. Fought for my country and am sitting here reading all the comments on this blog, both for and against. It amazes me that most posts are against the U.S. and Isreal. Using our free speach to spread lies and deception. Something that most of the middle eastern countries oppress by threats of death, America is the most free of all nations in the world. Sure, we have our problems and maybe we should discriminate more on how we approach world politics and foreign affairs. But, without the U.S. being the "World Policeman", it would fall into chaos and ruled by tyrants and thugs hell bent on filling their coffers with the riches of the world and power hungry. Eager to spread their philosophy on the "sheep" of the world to fullfill their agendas. Wars would be fought, millions lost, and disparity would spread.
    Should America get involved in Syria? Or the Middle East as a whole? I say yes. Only to keep the spread of radical Islam in check just as Communism or Facism. Freedom isn't free, it comes with the highest of costs. I would gladly lop of the head of any one that would try to kill me, my family or our way of life. That's what radical islam is set on doing, any chance they get, any time or place. They call themselves by many names but they are all the same: murderers and thieves, they will get their just rewards in the end.

    July 15, 2013 at 7:07 am | Reply
  14. spirittoo

    OMG! Iran is training "pro regime militias"! Never mind the FACT that the us/israel/nato have hire mercenaries terrorist thugs to kill the civilians and blame it on the government. Never mind the FACT that the us/israel/nato are desperate to start more wars to disrupt the Middle East for its master israel. Never mind the FACT that Syria and Iran have a mutual pack to help one another if attack by fascists war mongers.

    Oh no! CNN and the rest of the sellout corporate media has to push the PROPAGANDA that Iran is training militias, which makes them terrible people for doing so. Oh yeah we got to stop them now!

    I'm so glad corporate news like cnn are losing viewers they certainly do deserve it. People are tired of the propaganda, but the rags keep it up and hope there are enough stupid people out there that will buy it to make a difference.

    August 16, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Reply
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  16. Everett Wallace

    dumb just dumb, you have NO military from dempsey down you did not make the cut and no place was found for them above ground. PIT!

    August 16, 2012 at 4:33 am | Reply
  17. stefan


    For the past 32 years, every U.S. Administration has shied away from helping the Iranian uprising against these murderers and has tolerated IRI's menace to generate more arms sales and military revenue from the Emirates and Iran has openly manifested its support of, and alliance with the Assad regime; now come Panetta and the super brains at the CIA and Pentagon and declare as new discovery something that the whole world has known for decades...Go figure the ignorance and the shallowness of the infantile U.S. foreign policy! Iran created Hezbollah with the help of Syria and had Syrian and Hezbollah agents in Iran back in 2009 to extinguish the popular uprising of the Iranians against a bogus election, so it should be no surprise that Tehran is returning the favor now.

    August 15, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Reply
  18. Awabnavi

    "We are seeing a growing presence by Iran and that is of deep concern to us that that's taking place." - What about the "growing presence" of ALI BABA & THE FORTY THIEVES? That's OK? Is it not a matter of "deep concern"?

    August 15, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Reply
  19. Peter

    Turkey, Qatar, Saudi are training rebels. Turkey even made public this news. US, UK, France are funneling arms and were made public in several newspapers despite government denial as if they have creditable history of not selling arms to conflicted areas.

    August 15, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Reply
  20. The Despot Lincoln

    Hoooooo, boy! Iran's done it now. They've p!ssed-off Tony Bennett.

    August 15, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Reply
  21. Say it As You See It


    August 15, 2012 at 10:52 am | Reply
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    August 15, 2012 at 10:51 am | Reply
  23. Julian Assange

    Does America really believe that they convince the world when the LIE and say they are nt arming Syrian terrorists?

    August 15, 2012 at 9:50 am | Reply
  24. Julian Assange

    Most CIVILIZED nations of this planet do not predate other nations land or resources, have nearly no army, no wars and no terrorism...
    America and Israel are CLEAR exceptions...

    August 15, 2012 at 9:49 am | Reply
    • Thinker23

      But of course... and Iran as well as the Arab states are NOT civilized.

      August 15, 2012 at 9:57 am | Reply
    • Julian Assange

      Even before its ilegitimate creation Israel started a sistematic and rithless war against the OWNERS of the Palestinian land to CLEAR SPACE for European refugies from the IIWAR... No Israel no wars in the ME!

      August 15, 2012 at 10:03 am | Reply
  25. Julian Assange

    What wars would be left in the world if those started by America and Israel are not considered...

    August 15, 2012 at 9:47 am | Reply
    • Thinker23

      Israel did not start ANY wars...

      August 15, 2012 at 9:56 am | Reply
    • Julian Assange

      Even before its ilegitimate creation Israel started a sistematic and rithless war against the OWNERS of the Palestinian land to CLEAR SPACE for European refugies from the IIWAR...

      No Israel no wars in the ME!

      August 15, 2012 at 10:04 am | Reply
  26. Julian Assange

    Imagine a world without trigger happy belligerent Americans and land Israeli land thieves...
    What a dream...

    August 15, 2012 at 9:46 am | Reply
    • Thinker23

      There are no "Israeli land thieves"... unless, of course you can SHOW SOME PROOF that the "stolen " lands belong to someone else.

      August 15, 2012 at 9:59 am | Reply
  27. Julian Assange

    As an ally Iran has a moral obligation to assist Assad against American armed and trained mercenaries. America and Israel are ONLY concerned with their own greedy interests, there is no interest in helping anyone except themselves!

    August 15, 2012 at 9:44 am | Reply
  28. Julian Assange

    If it was not for China and Russia, American and Israeli war planes disgised as NATO would be bombing the Syrian people as we speak... How MEDIEVAL!

    August 15, 2012 at 9:42 am | Reply
  29. Julian Assange

    Americans are DESPERATE to have their mercenaries assassinate Assad to prop a PUPPET Karzai style to power in Syria to lead the country on American and Israeli interests.

    August 15, 2012 at 9:41 am | Reply
  30. Julian Assange

    America and Israel are arming and financing Syrian oposition terrorists, it is only NORMAL that Syrias allies help Assad to avid been vertaken by the BARBARIANS thieves from the U.S. and Israel.

    August 15, 2012 at 9:34 am | Reply
  31. as256

    How about when the USA trained Al Queda to fight the Russians. By doing that the USA created a monster!! What is worse???

    August 15, 2012 at 9:27 am | Reply
    • gypsy0032

      Get your facts straight. The USA trained the mujahadeen, not Al Qaeda. If some of those elements became a part of Al Qaeda, then the USA cannot be held to blame for that.

      August 15, 2012 at 9:34 am | Reply
      • Peter

        mujahadeen became Taliban ..... You canot weasel out of responsibilities here by the actions of USA

        August 15, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
      • spirittoo

        Since the us created CIAqaeda of course they can be blame. And are to blame. Who's facts aren't straight?

        August 16, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Julian Assange

      Americans have demonstrated time and time again that they are incapable of learning from their HUGE mistakes like Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libano and others...
      They will AGAIN train and finance terrorists that will eventualy put their new WTC to the floor...

      And dumbed down American society will keep electing the same corrupt people that burn their tax money with useless and expencive wars...

      August 15, 2012 at 9:58 am | Reply
  32. citizenmn

    The Islamic regime is training Assad's regime in how to oppress Syrians. They are also busy taking notes on what to do and not do when Iranians finally rise up.

    August 15, 2012 at 9:10 am | Reply
  33. Prophet

    The time has come at last for me to avenge my people, to ransom them from their oppressors. I was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So I myself stepped in to save them with my styrong arm, and my wrath sustained me. I crushed the nations in my anger and made them to stagger and fall to the ground, spilling their blood on the earth. But I will not destroy them all, says the Lord. For just as good grapes are found among a cluster of bad ones, so I will not destroy them all, says the Lord. For I still have true servants there. Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says ; ' My servants will eat, but you will starve. My servants will drink but you will be thirsty. My servants will rejoice, but you will be sad and ashamed. My servants will sing for joy, but you will cry in sorrow and despair. In those days, no one will be hurt or destoyed on my holy mountain. "I the Lord have spoken!"

    August 15, 2012 at 9:10 am | Reply
  34. Awabnavi

    What the fk is the matter with the USA. They can do ANYTHING THEY WANT. The rest of the world can't FOLLOW SUIT?

    August 15, 2012 at 9:03 am | Reply
  35. Neelima

    I am sure Iran has a hand to play in this..Remember when Iran Warned America about it..

    August 15, 2012 at 8:11 am | Reply
    • jeff

      And America is training and supporting the Rebels.

      August 15, 2012 at 8:30 am | Reply
  36. ausjac

    What a muppet, of they are and why wouldn't they. US are doing the same. This is Afghanistan all over again with the US training and supplying mujihadeen. US will be paying dearly again for this meddling.

    August 15, 2012 at 5:08 am | Reply
  37. SoldierOfFortunes

    Political pawns really...what makes me laugh is they think they can trot into the Middle East and boss them around...Good Luck with that...I will reserve a seat for you at the local morgue...they will shoot you for the dumb dog you are being...I would let Saudia Arabia deal with Iran...they are closer and better equipped...and they haven't engaged in war like we have so they got soldiers who are sandy and need a training shakedown...a pass it on deal for the USA...pass the war to Saudia Arabia...tell them it's your turn...

    August 15, 2012 at 4:05 am | Reply
    • Big Moo

      As much as I wish that the US would do what you're proposing, they simply won't. And why? Three letters: O-I-L

      August 15, 2012 at 4:19 am | Reply
      • jeff

        And like like Iraq America will not see a drop of it.

        August 15, 2012 at 8:31 am |
  38. guest

    Looks like every war is a Proxy War,

    Well atleast we are starting to read Sun Tzu

    August 15, 2012 at 3:58 am | Reply
  39. Mike

    What is worse, the Assad regime or the islamic maddogs wanting to take over? With the possible exception of Israel the middle east is mentally deranged.

    August 15, 2012 at 2:25 am | Reply
    • glennrobert

      Israel is still taking the west bank, one house at a time!

      August 15, 2012 at 2:50 am | Reply
      • Thinker23

        If the Arabs of the West Bank and their supporters did not like the current arrangement they would NEGOTIATE A BETTER DEALlong ago... Simple ,is not it?

        August 15, 2012 at 6:30 am |
    • vm

      Considering that the US supports all the worst regimes at some point in the ME, it would be obvious that the US is the reason for all the madness in the ME.

      I would not be surprised if the ME would be a much better place, if the US didn't existed. They would of have probably been so ecomically advanced, just like any other areas in the world. And that would not be in the interest of the US. This is why they are actively being held back. The nonsense about terrorist, religion, etc. are fake excuses to keep the US sheeps busy. And it works everytime. And American sheeps think that others (such as the Muslims) are backwards! Religion only takes hold when the people become hopeless, US keeps the ME hopeless.

      August 15, 2012 at 3:12 am | Reply
      • Thinker23

        As long as the Arabs and Musims in general blame someone else (be it Israel, the Jews, America or whoever) for their own failures nothing will change. Only when the Arabs will produce leadership ABLE AND WILLING to live in peace with others will peace and subsequent economic development become possible.

        August 15, 2012 at 6:35 am |
      • vm

        Thinker23: If you didn't understand my post, read it again until you understand it. It is America and Isreal that barks senselessness when another ME country seems to make progress. They alway claim that these countries are terrorist. Then they make false claims so they can destroy them. If you forgot Iraq, then you will never learn. Think about what you are saying. First US & Isreal destroy these countries overtly and covertly, militarily and economically and then then complain and yap the entire time that the ME countries are backwards. You can try to convince your sheeps to believe this bulls..t. Not everyone buys this bs and one day, it will backfire and you will wonder why everyone hates those who are doing this. History repeats itself because people always think that they are smarter and this will never change in our lifetime.

        August 15, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • spirittoo

      Ah no ... it's the other way around ... israel is a deranged terrorist state. The Middle East would be in much better shape if not for that terrorist state and its B the us.

      August 16, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Reply
  40. paul martin

    This justifies the US to intervene and counter the iranian regime's interference !

    August 15, 2012 at 2:22 am | Reply
    • spirittoo

      Ah no ... it justifies an Syrian ally honoring a mutual pack they have with one another to stop attacks from fascists like the us that are using mercenaries terrorists to invade Syria. Just go back to sleep.

      August 16, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Reply
      • proud american

        Your'e the facist and probably a TERRORIST yourself.

        July 15, 2013 at 6:30 am |
  41. Faha

    Hahahahahah, they think they can fool us again, lols

    August 15, 2012 at 2:13 am | Reply
  42. Mick

    These clowns think they're fooling us, every day more people wake up and discover the truth though. Glad they're so incompetent and took 11 years to do what could've been done in 3-5 years, now we're onto them and can protest and vote them out.
    2012 will be the last election where sheeple outnumber those who are awake, next time we'll get our man in, whether Ron Paul or someone else with the character to tell the truth.

    August 15, 2012 at 1:55 am | Reply
    • f4xtrafn

      Mr Mouse, are you refering to the Romney/Ryan dog and pony show? What a couple of clowns. I noticed that CNN broke down Ryan's support – mostly white old men, hardly any women – what a loser. I love how Ryan explained how he regrets being "forced" to vote the republican party line under Bush that drove the economy over the cliff – and now he wants to fix it. But, they do have the "whiter" ticket – with a few "token" colored's to please their "base".

      August 15, 2012 at 2:48 am | Reply
  43. welloiled

    Yawn........... what's new? USA is training the other side. Still itching to get boots on the ground? Take over the country and pretend that the USA is doing the next best thing since slice bread was invented. A Syrian went off to China the other day. Maybe the other major players are also going to have more say yet. Let's face it, they have the man power and they have our cash. Oh um........... doh. WW3 could be just around the corner, the way this game is being played out. Try waking up and smell the coffee

    August 15, 2012 at 1:35 am | Reply
  44. maias

    "U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Tuesday accused Iran of training pro-Assad militias in Syria........"

    Since Leon Panetta still believes Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11 attacks I think we can ignore this curmudgeon's mis-statements as the ricklings of a camstairy clishmaclaver (check Chambers 20th C dictonary for this old Scottish phrase)

    August 15, 2012 at 1:28 am | Reply
  45. Eric

    More lies and propaganda peddling from the Military Industrial Entertainment Banking Complex that's stealing the wealth of future generations, wrecking the planet with depleted uranium, and shredding the fabric of our very civilization. One day our children will urinate on our graves and curse our cowardice to stop these tyrants and thieves.

    August 15, 2012 at 1:24 am | Reply
    • glennrobert

      The air force is working on a rocket that will be able to deliver a pay load anywhere in the world in less than one hour. Are we mad at Tasmania? Or perhaps Diego Garcia, oops we are already there!

      August 15, 2012 at 2:56 am | Reply
      • Roger

        We already have missiles that can reach anywhere in 30 minutes and have had them fo 50 years. Better do some reading on the Cold War.

        August 15, 2012 at 7:00 am |
  46. gazza

    Peanutta should pipe down. CIA is arming and training terrorists in Turkey.

    August 15, 2012 at 1:23 am | Reply
    • MORT

      Yes,of course.
      My standpoint is very clear,is that the international community should try their best to create a path for the government and the opposition groups to have more talks.instead of training or arming the army.
      The future of Syria is determined by all of Syrians,neither the US and its western allies nor China and Russia.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:03 am | Reply
  47. hasanhh

    I hope Iran is training Syrians. It is obvious that the police could not do their jobs when their vice squads could not find out about the arms and personel smuggling that preceeded this disaster.
    What Syria now needs is "heliocopter bombing".

    August 15, 2012 at 12:28 am | Reply
  48. speaktruth

    Everyone should read this AND watch the video in the middle of the page.

    August 14, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Reply
  49. Ralph Spyer

    Thank god our C.I.A is no were to be found at least in Afghanistan the CIA can sell drugs or in Iraq the oil companys can give them a kick back.why go into Syria were the MONEY in it? Israel through their duel citizenship congressmen or senators or rich mob money men might have a say.. Iran is our next war their oil in that country.

    August 14, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Reply
  50. f

    there is no option for intervention in fly zone is not possible.bombardment lead to massive civilian casualties because unlike libya syria have a large population.ground invasion is also impossible after lessons from iraq and also because of economic situations.if us invade rebels may switch sides and fight aganist us troops.syria can become another vietnam.sending weapons also cant change anything and cant able rebels to defeat syrian army unless modern and powerful weapons send for rebels and this is also not possible because they can later use against israel

    August 14, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Reply
    • glennrobert

      Well, we have to invade somebody!

      August 15, 2012 at 2:59 am | Reply
  51. Joseph McCarthy

    Is there any truth to this story or is this just more right-wing propaganda coming out of Washington D.C.? Does anyone here remember the story of the boy who cried "wolf" too many times?

    August 14, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Reply
    • Joe dirt

      Your Chinese grandma didn't cry wolf, but she did cry out in pleasure when we f–ked. I brought her to orgasm by saying I was American and I had a falun gong ding dong.

      August 14, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Reply
      • Joseph McCarthy

        Please Joe, tell me which one of these Tea Partying broads here put you up to posting about my grandmother above? Was it Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann or Christine O'Donnell? By the way Joe, my grandmother was not Chinese but Irish. Again I sak you to please drop that filthy Tea Party lingo as it has absolutely no place here!

        August 15, 2012 at 12:29 am |
  52. easyrhino

    Please Iran, do something wrong (maybe boil water on the stove) so the United States can propogandize/inflate a non-existant threat and the US tax-payers can under-write yet another invasion of a country that poses absolutely no threat to the United States.

    August 14, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Reply
  53. PracticalWarlord

    Good for Iran, somebody has to stand up to the Al-Qaida inspired terrorists supported by NATO+Qatar+Saudi and who are destroying Syria.
    Thank you Iran for being the only country that is truly fighting global terrorism.

    August 14, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Reply
    • Joe dirt

      Your chinese grandmother loves american falun gong ding dong.

      August 14, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Reply
  54. David

    And would you pls tell me who's training those al-Qaeda elements fighting Assad inside Syria? If Iran, Russia, and China train the pro-govt. forces, that makes sense then... they have every right to do that.

    August 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Reply
    • Joe dirt

      Your chinese grandmother loves american falun gong ding dong. IT brings her to climax.

      August 14, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Reply
  55. OffTheWorldPolitics

    Now they also have biological weapons, well that's a whole new ball game kids...

    August 14, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Reply
  56. Brian Smith

    Well, how do you explain our CIA tennis shoes on the ground training the rebels to take on Assad?

    August 14, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Reply
    • Joe dirt

      I explain it in terms of your Chinese grandmother loving my American falun gong ding dong. I f–ked her senseless while wearing an american flag as a cape. She loved every minute of it. Very loud in bed!

      August 14, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Reply
    • Lyndsie Graham

      That's a good question, Brian. Thanks for asking it and now let those clowns in the Pentagon answer that one!!!

      August 15, 2012 at 12:35 am | Reply
    • vm

      Panetta, just like all gov't con men, have no shame. He is training the terrorists and trying to instill fear in people, that he can protect the US from terrorist. The US is in reality, in some ways, no better than a two-bit tyrant dictatorship. But this is what enough Americans support and this is what they get.

      August 15, 2012 at 3:06 am | Reply

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