Iranian Regime's Militias Deployed Snipers in Iraq Protests - Reuters
Iran-backed militias- deployed- snipers- in Iraq
Militias backed by the Iranian regime deployed snipers on Baghdad rooftops during Iraq’s deadliest anti-government protests in years, two Iraqi security officials told Reuters.
Mass protests against the Iraqi government and against the presence of Iran's regime in Iraq have led to more than 100 deaths and 6,000 injuries during the week starting October 1, Reuters reported.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has institutionalized its presence in #Iraq through the “Holy Shrines’ Reconstruction Headquarters#IRGCTerrorists #IRGCOutOfIraq pic.twitter.com/9y9hTKSPqK— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) October 16, 2019
The Iraqi security sources told Reuters that the leaders of Iran-aligned militias decided on their own to help put down the mass protests against the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, whose one-year-old administration is backed by Iran-backed armed groups and political factions.
“We have confirmed evidence that the snipers were elements of militias reporting directly to their commander instead of the chief commander of the armed forces,” said one of the Iraqi security sources. “They belong to a group that is very close to the Iranians.”
A second Iraqi security source, who attended daily government security briefings, said militiamen clad in black shot protesters on the third day of unrest when the death toll soared to more than 50 from about half a dozen. The fighters were directed by Abu Zainab al-Lami, head of security for the Hashid, a grouping of mostly Shi’ite Muslim paramilitaries backed by Iran's regime, the second source said. The Hashid leader was tasked with quashing the protests by a group of other senior militia commanders, the source said. The sources did not say how many snipers were deployed by militia groups.
The protests started October 1 amid public rage over chronic shortages of jobs, electricity and clean water. Iraqis blame politicians and officials for systemic corruption that has prevented Iraq from recovering after years of sectarian violence and devastating war to defeat Islamic State.
The second security source told Reuters that the snipers were using radio communications equipment that was provided by Iran's regime and is difficult to intercept, giving the groups an essentially private network.
A group of senior commanders from the Iranian regime's Revolutionary Guards traveled to Iraq on the second day of the protests and met with Iraqi intelligence and security officials, according to a diplomat in the region familiar with the Iranian regime's decision-making process. After the meeting, senior Revolutionary Guard officers with experience in curbing civil unrest continued to advise the Iraqi government, the diplomat told Reuters.
As protests entered their third day, on Oct. 3, snipers appeared on Baghdad rooftops. A Reuters cameraman who was covering the unrest near Baghdad’s Tahrir Square that afternoon said he saw a sniper, wearing a balaclava and dressed in black as he stood on top of an under-construction building that overlooked the demonstrations.
Protesters fled as the sniper opened fire.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) revealed last week that the Iranian regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force is effectively present in Iraq in a widespread and official fashion under the cover of the regime's highest diplomatic titles in Iraq. All of the regime's resources including its diplomatic resources are under the control of the Quds Force and particular its commander Qassem Soleimani as they meddle in Iraqi affairs.
According to specific information obtained by the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK) from within the Iranian regime, the regime's embassy and consulates in Baghdad, Basra, Karbala, and Najaf are under the control of the Revolutionary Guards and its Qods Force. Large numbers of IRGC commanders are stationed in these centers, and from there they control the departments and groups affiliated to the regime, including Hashd Al-Shaabi.
In addition to the unusually large number of the regime's armed forces personnel, a large number of the officials of the Iranian regime's Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) are based in the regime's embassy and consulates. They work closely with IRGC commanders.