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Report: Obama-era holdovers have led effort to funnel US arms to Iranian militants

U.S. officials acknowledged that Iranian militant groups could be armed with American-made weapons., according to a report by the Washington Free Beacon. (Ahmed Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images)

A new report from the Washington Free Beacon alleges that a substantial amount of United States military equipment has found its way into the hands of Iranian militant groups, with the tacit approval of the U.S. government.

The report, which is based on interviews with current and former U.S.  government officials, alleges that the military has turned a blind eye to the fact that large quantities of military equipment that was earmarked for use by Iraqi militias in the fight against the Islamic State has fallen into the hands of militant Shiite Iranian groups.

These Shia groups have been involved in the fight against pro-Sunni ISIS because of sectarian intra-Islam conflict in the Middle East. Intelligence analysts who spoke with TheBlaze said that U.S. policy under the Obama administration was to encourage Iranian influence in the region in the hopes that the Shia/Sunni sectarian conflict would lead the Iranian militant groups to provide a counterweight to the Islamic State in Iraq.

However, due to the concern that pro-Iran Shia elements might overwhelm Iraq in the event of the Islamic State’s defeat, the United States adopted strict policies designed to blacklist certain Shia groups from receiving any U.S. military equipment.

According to the Free Beacon report, however, those policies have largely failed, and the weapons program continues despite widespread knowledge that large quantities of the military equipment is falling into the hands of blacklisted groups.

Further, according to the Free Beacon, Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) has recently revealed evidence that these blacklisted groups are using U.S. military equipment — including tanks — in Iraq. DeSantis is applying pressure to the State Department to disclose the extent of the United States’ dealings with these blacklisted groups.

Both the Free Beacon report and intelligence analysts who spoke to TheBlaze indicated that this program, while started during the Obama administration, has continued with the knowledge of the Trump administration, which still has a number of Obama-era holdovers in key positions in both the military and State Department.

The State Department has not commented on the Free Beacon report.

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