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Over 7,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Iraq to compensate for Maliki’s ouster not to fight ISIS

The objective of mullahs in dispatching revolutionary guards and strengthening militias is not to fight ISIS but to compensate for the decisive blow of Nouri al-Maliki’s ouster and to consolidate dominion of velayat-e faqih caliphate over Iraq

NCRI – The Iranian Resistance warns of the escalating presence of the criminal revolutionary guards of the terrorist Qods Force (QF) in Iraq that is a blatant breach of UN Security Council resolutions and underscores that their objective is not to fight ISIS, but to compensate for the heavy blow caused by Maliki’s ouster and to consolidate the velayat-e faqih caliphate in Iraq.

The slaughter and forced migration, along with aggression against the Iraqi people, in particular the Sunnis, and ridding them of their property by the revolutionary guards and their affiliated militias under the pretext of fighting ISIS has endangered peace and security throughout the region and fuels the machine of extremism and terrorism in the whole region.

1. According to Resistance’s information from inside the regime, the number of revolutionary guards of the QF now reaches 7000 in Iraq. A large number of them have been stationed in Baghdad, Diyala and Salah ad-Din provinces and the cities of Samarra, Karbala, Najaf, Khaneqain, Sa’adiyah and Jaloula. A great number of commanders and experts from the revolutionary guards accompany the terrorist militias in various areas of Iraq. Regime’ fighter jets have been flying in Iraq since early November and are currently carrying out military missions in Diyala and Salah ad-Din provinces.

2. The extent of this meddling is such that mullahs’ Defense Minister Dehqan stated on December 20: “In the realm of weapons and equipment, usually their governments (Iraq and Syria) purchase from us and in the realms of training and advising we are serving the armies and resistance forces of Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.” He added: The presence of Qasem Soleimani in Iraq “is to offer advice, guidance and training… the people who have gone there are to advise and offer training to help out with organizing and training and to offer advice on operational plans”.

3. The clerical regime and the QF that had brought Iraq under their hidden occupation in a step by step manner since 12 years ago, had taken over all aspects of that country through their proxy prime minister. Subsequent to the initiation of the popular uprising against Maliki in January 2013, they broadened their interference to suppress the uprising and to strengthen their hand in Iraq.

4. Since January 2014 that Maliki initiated the Anbar conflict and suffered a severe defeat in the hands of the people and tribes of that region, the Iranian regime felt imperiled and thus the presence of the QF in Iraq took on new dimensions. Mohammad Hejazi, Deputy for Logistics in regime’s General Command Headquarters of the Armed Forces, announced that the clerical regime is prepared to offer Iraq equipment and consultation (IRNA News Agency – January 5, 2014).

5. In February 2014, a number of QF commanders who had participated in the slaughter of the Syrian people went to Iraq to pass on their experiences in trainings to the Iraqi forces. Intimately and directly they transferred their experience in Iran and Syria to Ali Qaidan, the at the time Commander of the Army, and Fadhil Barwari, the Commander of the Golden (Dirty) Division. They primarily order to Maliki to establish a Basij-like force. They noted that they had initiated the civil defense in Syria which is capable of saving Assad’s regime; the classical army is designed to fight an external war and is useless in guerrilla warfare.

6. During this period, the QF beefed up the terrorist militia groups under its command such as Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, Kata’ib Hezbollah and Badr Corps and dispatched them to Anbar Province, especially to Ramadi and Garmeh regions. Their first task was to pump morale into Maliki’s military. Since March 2014, 15-day training courses were arranged for these militias in Iran; the same thing that the regime had initiated two years ago for the mercenaries who were dispatched to Syria.

7. In March 2014, the QF sent some trainers from the Lebanese Hezbollah to Iraq to organize and train the militias and concurrently sent all types of weapons and equipment in an attempt to organize a powerful force capable of preserving the power in the hands of Maliki and Iranian regime’s elements.

8. Since late March 2014, the militias who had been equipped and organized in orderly units and were accompanied by QF commanders were deployed in battlefields and specific defensive lines were trusted to them. The Garmeh region until Zaidan and Baghdad Beltway from Taramiyah to Abu Ghoraib was given to Asa’ib militias; Fallujah and Baghdad Beltway from south of the airport to Yousefiyah was given to the Kata’ib terrorist group; and the Badr forces were deployed to the west of Fallujah and Ramadi. A division composed of the militias was organized to be deployed in Baghdad’s Beltway from Taramiyah to Madaen, west of Baghdad. Maliki and the QF jointly provided their equipment. Special equipment, bombs and missiles were transferred to Najaf and Baghdad through air transport with coordination by Hadi Ameri, Iraq’s at the time Minister of Transportation, to be transferred subsequently to these forces.
9. During this period, the commanders of the QF were placed in active liaison and direct coordination with Maliki’s army and police commanders and a joint Tactical Operating Center (TOC) was set up in Anbar. IRGC Brigadier General Iraj Masjedi, Qasem Soleimani’s “supreme advisor”, and a number of other commanders of the QF were deployed in Iraq. In addition, “Esmail Qa’ani Akbarnejad”, Deputy to Qasem Soleimani, regularly travelled to Iraq to supervise the situation.

10. Following the disintegration of Maliki’s army on June 10 and as Ninawa and Salah ad-Din slipped from his hands, the QF dispatched its command system to Iraq in a matter of hours. In the early days of this development, over 2000 seasoned revolutionary guards entered Iraq who were primarily tasked to Baghdad’s Beltway. Others were deployed in Diyala. Concurrently, people from IRGC Air Force were deployed in Diyala, Salah ad-Din and Kurdistan to collect information and direct drones. The number of revolutionary guards continues to rise and has now reached 7000.

11. At this stage, Soleimani used Abu Mehdi Mohandess, the known terrorist, as his Deputy of Operations in Iraq and commander of the militias and formed a special TOC for coordinating the militias in Baghdad. The military and security responsibility for Diyala was given to Hadi Ameri, Maliki’s Minister of Transportation. These two are both in the list of 32000 employees of IRGC in Iraq. This is the list that the Iranian Resistance exposed back in 2006.

12. To compensate for the sidelining of Maliki and regain former status, the clerical regime ramped up the presence of the QF in August and the presence of Qasem Soleimani increased, especially in battlefields such as Amerli, Jarf al-Sakhar, Sa’adiyah and Jaloula. In order to build up the morale of its defeated mercenaries, regime’s Farsi and Arabic speaking media staged a noisy propaganda campaign about the presence of Soleimani and the IRGC in Iraq.

13. During this period, organizing the “popular Basij” forces was left to the militias and the QF. In an interview with al-Iraqiya state TV on December 22, Maliki’s National Security Advisor Faleh Fayad stipulated that there are a number of “Iranian advisors” within the “popular Basij” forces.

14. The objective of IRGC and the militias is not to fight ISIS, but to exploit on the present situation and consolidate their grip on Iraq. That is why the massacres, aggressions, forced migration of populations, and ridding the Sunnis of their property that have been ongoing by these forces since 2003 took on unprecedented dimensions in the recent months. In an interview on December 1st with the official website of Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), Sheik Jafar, KDP’s official in Khaneqain, said: “The actions of Shia militias is like ISIS or even worse. They are experts in killing, burning and looting. They have disrupted 90% of Sa’adiyah and looted and burned all its places… Their objective is to expand their rule and influence… They rarely use the Iraqi flag and mostly hoist a flag that carries the emblem of the Islamic Republic of Iran… They have initiated purging of all Sunnis and kill people anywhere they can… These forces blew up people’s homes under the pretext of neutralizing mines and explosives.”

15. In a shocking report on December 15, the Al-Jazeera TV unveiled the bombing of Sunni areas and forcible displacement of the Sunnis in Iraq including in Diyala and Salah ad-Din and especially in Samarra, various districts of Baghdad and its suburbs such as Mahmoudiyah, Arab Jabour, Jarf-al-Sakhar, Yousefiyah, Latifiyah, Abu Ghraib, Taji and Moshahedeh by the militias affiliated with the QF. The number of forcibly displaced people in Baghdad reaches one million. A resident of Jarf-al-Sakhar testified, “Militias burn homes, arrest the youth, and kill them in undisclosed locations… No Sunni family is left in Jarf-al-Sakhar. They arrest young and old men, forcibly displace the families, and kill them… We are witnessing the beginning of an Iranian caliphate just as ISIS has announced its caliphate.”

16. On 14 October 2014, in a detailed report titled “Absolute impunity, Militia rule in Iraq”, Amnesty International underscored the affiliation of the militias to the Iranian regime and wrote:
• The growing power of Shi’a militias has contributed to an overall deterioration in security and an atmosphere of lawlessness.
• Shi’a militias are ruthlessly targeting Sunni civilians on a sectarian basis under the guise of fighting terrorism, in an apparent bid to punish Sunnis for the rise of the IS and for its heinous crimes.
• Scores of unidentified bodies have been discovered across the country handcuffed and with gunshot wounds to the head, indicating a pattern of deliberate execution-style killings.
• Militia members, numbering tens of thousands, wear military uniforms, but they operate outside any legal framework and without any official oversight.
• By granting its blessing to militias who routinely commit such abhorrent abuses, the Iraqi government is sanctioning war crimes and fuelling a dangerous cycle of sectarian violence that is tearing the country apart.
• Successive Iraqi governments have displayed a callous disregard for fundamental human rights principles. The new government must now change course and put in place effective mechanisms to investigate abuses by Shi’a militias and Iraqi forces and hold accountable those responsible.

17. On 18 September 2014, the Foreign Policy website in an article titled “Iraq’s Shiite militias are becoming as great a danger as the Islamic State” wrote: “These groups, many of which have deep ideological and organizational links to Iran… are actively recruiting — drawing potential soldiers away from the Iraqi army and police and bringing fighters into highly ideological, anti-American, and rabidly sectarian organizations. Many of these trainees are not simply being used to push back Sunni jihadists, but in many cases form a rear guard used to control districts that are supposedly under Baghdad’s control…In early June, Shiite militias, along with Iraqi security forces, reportedly executed around 255 prisoners, including children…The growth of these pro-Iranian Shiite militias, and many more like them, helps demonstrate Iran’s goals for the domination of Shiite Iraq. These groups not only benefit from Iran’s patronage and organizational capabilities — they also all march to Tehran’s ideological tune. They are loyal to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and Iran’s ideology of absolute wilayat-e faqih.”

18. On September 16, New York Times wrote: “‘We break into an area and kill the ones who are threatening people,’ said one 18-year-old fighter with Asaib Ahl al-Haq… insisting that their militia commanders had been given authority by Iraqi security officials… This militia was once a leading killer of American troops … Alla Maki, a Sunni lawmaker said that under former Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, Asaib Ahl al-Haq was ‘encouraged to do dirty jobs like killing Sunnis, and they were allowed to operate freely. Now the international community are all being inspired by the removal of Maliki personally, but the policy is still going on’… So far, though, there is no sign of any official attempts to investigate even the most publicized allegations of extrajudicial killings of Sunnis by Asaib Ahl al-Haq.”

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
December 26, 2014