Ballistic missiles are appearing in Iraq, US officials say—only they're not Iraqi. Details are scant, but Iran has apparently taken advantage of Iraqi unrest by sneaking short-range missiles into the country, the New York Times reports. Seems Iran is using Shiite militias under its control to move and conceal the missiles, which can probably fly about 600 miles and hit Jerusalem from Baghdad. Iran's placing of missiles in Iraq isn't new—Reuters reported on it last year—but the latest intelligence shows it hasn't stopped, either. "People are not paying enough attention to the fact that ballistic missiles in the last year have been placed in Iraq by Iran with the ability to project violence on the region," says Rep. Elissa Slotin, D-Mich.
The news comes amid ongoing Mideast turbulence, with Washington trying to bolster its military presence with about 14,000 more troops, Iran engaging in shadow attacks on other countries, and violent protests rocking Iran. Just this week, CNN reported on Iran moving weapons and forces to possibly attack US interests. Missiles positioned in Iraq could also be used to disguise their true origin, the Times notes. All this can be seen as an indictment of America's attempts to deter Iran's interests in the region. It also reaffirms Iran's military strategy: "Lacking a modern air force, Iran has embraced ballistic missiles as a long-range strike capability to dissuade its adversaries in the region," the Defense Intelligence Agency said in a report last month. (Read more Iran stories.)