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Fars (farce): US jets bomb Iraqis.

Iran's Fars news agency has carried a story asserting American fighter jets have--again--bombed Iraqi military units trying to fight the Islamic State.

The story by Fars--pronounced farce--is one of many carried in the Iranian news media asserting that the United States is actually aiding the Islamic State rather than fighting it as Washington states.

Stories of US bombing runs on anti-IS troops are not as common, however, as repeated claims that the United States has been airdropping supplies to IS troops and doing nothing to stop Americans from volunteering to fight with IS, known as Daesh from its Arabic and Persian initials. The stories about American volunteers usually omit saying they are largely American Muslims and leave the impression that American Christians are all for the Islamic State.

The story last week about US planes bombing Iraqi forces was labeled "EXCLUSIVE." It did not cite any Iraqi sources. It did not cite any sources, for that matter. Many of the stories carried in Iran about the Americans air dropping supplies to IS troops have first been published in the Iraqi media that are staunchly anti-American.

But the new Fars story did not assert that this was the first US attack on troops opposed to the IS. It listed several such attacks:

* June 13 on Iraqi troops in Anbar province.

* Early June on Iraqi troops at Fallujah, killing six and injuring eight.

* Early May on Iranian-backed militiamen near Baghdad, killing "a number" of them.

* March 29 eight airstrikes on militia troops fighting IS near Tikrit, injuring "a number."

* An undated attack on an arms workshop near Baghdad that was used by the Iranian-backed militia, destroying the shop and its contents "completely."

An American reporter visited one Iraqi unit near Tikrit that he had been told by militiamen had been bombed by the Americans in March. The Iraqi officers told the reporter they had been bombed in error by the Iraqi Air Force.

As for the reports of US airdrops of supplies to IS forces, Fars has often quoted Jafar al-Jaberi, an Iraqi who serves in the headquarters coordinating the work of several Iranian-back militias. He has often cited unnamed "eyewitnesses" who told him of seeing US airplanes dropping packets to Islamic State forces.

Last week, Fars quoted Jaberi as saying, "The US planes have dropped weapons for Daesh terrorists in the areas under Daesh control and even in those areas that have recently been liberated from Daesh control to encourage the terrorists to return to those places."

But not all the reports of airdrops for Daesh come from Iranian-paid groups.

Hakem al-Zameli, the chairman of the Iraqi Parliament's National Security Committee, has often been quoted as well. He seems to be more frequently quoted in Iran than in Iraq, where only a minority takes the tales of Western support for the Islamic State seriously.

Back in February, Fars quoted Zameli as saying he had photos of two British planes that were shot down by Iraqi forces after they dropped supplies to the Islamic State. The photos have not, however, ever materialized.

Fars is one of the three largest news agencies in Iran, the others being the Mehr news agency and the state-owned Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). Fars is understood to be sponsored by the Pasdaran.

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Title Annotation:Keeping an eye on rhetoric
Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Jun 26, 2015
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