Must-read piece by Kathleen Ridolfo, Radio Free Europe analyst. It chronicles Iraq's economic subordination to Iran, including this outrageous detail. It's about Bank Melli, Iran's largest bank, which the US Treasury has blacklisted for its role in both aiding Iran's pursuit of nuclear weaponry and funding terrorist groups. Last year, lo, about the time, the "surge" of American troops was reaching full strength, Bank Melli opened its Baghdad branch.
In June, Iran opened a branch of Bank Melli in Baghdad -- the same bank that the U.S. Treasury identified last year as a financial conduit to facilitating the purchases of sensitive materials for Iran's nuclear and ballistic-missile programs. The bank also provides banking services to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and its Qods Force, which the United States says is providing financial and material support to militias in Iraq.
"From 2002 to 2006, Bank Melli was used to send at least $100 million to the Qods Force," the U.S. Treasury warned in October 2007. "When handling financial transactions on behalf of the IRGC, Bank Melli has employed deceptive banking practices to obscure its involvement from the international banking system."
But how convenient for Iranian "paymasters" and "employees" in Iraq!
Another shocking detail Ridolfo mentions, which cries out for official confirmaton, is this:
Iraq reportedly had a budget surplus of between $21 billion and $28 billion last year.
Meanwhile, most of us had the notion Iraq was a pauper state. What chumps we are.