By Jim Garamone
CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq, Aug. 15, 2006 – Iran is fighting two proxy wars, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told servicemembers here Aug. 13. Marine General Peter Pace told servicemembers gathered at the camp chapel that Iran is "fighting a proxy war against Israel by supporting Hezbollah" in Lebanon. Iran also is fighting a proxy war against Iraq and the United States by supporting elements inside Iraq.
Pace said the preferred method of dealing with Iran is via diplomacy. The international community must place pressure on Iran to end its support of the Hezbollah terror group in southern Lebanon, he said. Hezbollah launched raids across the Israeli-Lebanese border and kidnapped two Israeli soldiers July 12. This sparked retaliation by Israel. A United Nations-brokered ceasefire went into effect yesterday. Iran is the principle national sponsor of Hezbollah.
In Iraq, officials believe Iran has trained many members of Shiite militia groups. There are also allegations that Iran is supplying the groups with weapons, including deadly shaped charges, and places to train and plan. "There is a lot of diplomacy that may be used, a lot of international pressure that can be used, a lot of international dialogue that can be used with the Iranian government to let them know that we don't appreciate what they are doing," Pace said.