There's been a lot of talk about whether the U.S. and Iran are going to war. The real question is whether the U.S. and Iran are already at war... a war through proxies.
The Bush administration has long claimed that Tehran is supporting radical Shiite groups who are attacking American troops in Iraq. Recently, we traveled to the Iraq-Iran border for Current's "Vanguard" to investigate claims that the U.S. is supporting its own groups who are attacking Iran.
Our journey took us from the streets of Erbil, the capital of the relatively peaceful and pro-American Kurdish north of Iraq, to the volatile foothills of the Qandil Mountains. Along the way, we talked politics with Iranian bootleggers, drank Johnny Walker with aging communist revolutionaries and even palled around with some terrorists.
All of this, of course, was a lead up to a meeting with a recently formed Kurdish militant group known as the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan, or PJAK. Over the last couple of years, PJAK has been launching deadly raids against Iran. They claim to have killed scores of Iranian troops. Many, including the Iranian government, believe PJAK is receiving support from the U.S.
To track them down, we traveled to the triple border where Iraq meets Turkey and Iran. Over the last year, this rugged area has become one of the most violent places in the region. Both Turkey and Iran bomb the area regularly as they try to root out guerrillas along their borders.
When we finally arrived at the first PJAK checkpoint, they were taking no chances with us possibly giving away their positions. Not only did they make us shut off our cell phones, but they had us remove the SIM cards so we couldn't be tracked.
Cut off from the outside world, we were attached to a group of women fighters. PJAK's troops are made up of 20 percent female guerrillas. We met Saria, one of hundreds of women who belong to the group.
"Girls in Iran face a lot of oppression," explained Saria, a 24-year-old Kurd from Iran. "We could no longer tolerate it and we thought the best way to free ourselves was to take up arms."
And take up arms Saria did - a Kalashnikov, 150 rounds of ammunition, plus two grenades, to be exact.
With our well-armed escorts, we were led deeper into the mountains and into what many suspect is the frontline of America's secret war with Iran.
- Darren Foster, "Vanguard" producer
"America's Secret War" airs at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Oct. 22, 2008 on Current TV. You can chat live during the broadcast with "Vanguard" correspondent Mariana van Zeller by visiting Current.com/vanguard. Stay tuned for an extended interview with former CIA operative and author of "The Devil We Know," Robert Baer.