22 September 2014
EIFA WARNS ABOUT GROWING PRESENCE OF SECTARIAN IRANIAN MILITIAS IN IRAQ AND CALLS FOR THEIR EVICTION
There are alarming and escalating reports about the presence of the Iranian regime’s terrorist Quds force and its affiliated militias in various parts of Iraq and rumours that they have exploited U.S. bombing raids to take over whole regions of the country. Reports indicate that the treatment of the people by these militias is no less vicious than the terrorist Islamic State (IS).
The European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA) warns that stability and peace in Iraq is impossible without the eviction of the Iranian regime and its revolutionary guards and militias. Any participation by these forces in the operations against IS (ISIS) will simply exacerbate the situation and aggravate the crisis.
EIFA warns that the mullahs and their proxies in Iraq should not be allowed to cultivate the current crisis as a vehicle for continuing the same sectarian and oppressive policies that were the hallmark of Maliki’s 8-year term of office, in an attempt once again to turn Iraq into a compliant Iranian satellite. Any solution to the current crisis that ignores the imperative to evict the Iranian regime from Iraq will fail and will ultimately serve the interests of Tehran.
Struan Stevenson, Chairman of European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009-2014) and President of European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA)
Relevant news on direct military interference by the Iranian regime in Iraq
On September 18, a lengthy report from Iraq aired by the BBC Farsi-speaking radio gave an astounding picture of the meddling of the Iranian regime and its revolutionary guards and militias in Iraq. Reporting from one of the bases of the 9 Badr militias it said: “In the office of Badr Corps in Touz Khormato, two things catch your attention more than anything else: A picture of Ayatollah Khamenei behind the commander… and that the room was replete with forces wearing uniforms most of whom fluently spoke Farsi.” Quoting the head of the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) branch in the town of Jaloula and the commander of a portion of the Kurdish forces in that region, the reporter said: “I asked him about the arrangements for cooperation between Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan. He replied that all the shelling is carried out by the Iranian forces that are around Sadiyeh and Jaloula towns and that Qasem Soleimani and some of his forces constantly visit the area and coordinate with the Peshmerga for further operations. Mr. Marouf stated that at times, the Commander of the Quds Force even visits the area in vehicles that carry IRGC marks on them.”
Al-Jazeera Television broadcast a report on September 15 of a Badr militia checkpoint north of Amerli where it showed one of the commanders at the scene who was giving orders in Farsi. He said: “The Shiite militias do not receive their orders from the Peshmerga. One of the commanders of the Peshmerga filmed this man on the day Amerli fell. He gives orders in Farsi. This Peshmerga commander has seen many Iranian fighters beside the Iraqi Shiites…”
Similarly, in a report from Iraq, the New York Times wrote on September 16: “At the end of July, a report from the research and advocacy group Human Rights Watch said it had documented the killings of 109 Sunni men — 48 in March and April, and 61 between June 1 and July 9 — in the villages and towns around Baghdad. Witnesses, medical personnel and government officials blamed Shiite militias for all of them, and ‘in many cases witnesses identified the militia as Asaib Ahl al-Haq’.”
The French Le Figaro daily wrote in a lengthy article from Iraq on September 20 that Jafar Mostafa from the KDP said: “Iran offered us military aid and told us that it would dispatch for us military advisors, especially regarding heavy weaponry and artillery; 300 revolutionary guards were sent to the area to assist in taking back the town of Amerli.” Quoting Molla Bakhtiar, a Kurdish military commander in the southern front, the article wrote: “In air strikes the U.S. has a very important role, but on the ground, it is Iran that plays an important role.”
Just a few days earlier David Petraeus, former Commander of coalition forces in Iraq had warned that “this cannot be the United States being the air force for Shia militias”.
And the Foreign Policy Magazine wrote on September 18: “Over 50 Shiite militias are now recruiting and fighting in Iraq. These groups are actively recruiting -- drawing potential soldiers away from the Iraqi army and police and bringing fighters into highly ideological, anti-American, and rapidly 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. Kataib Hezbollah, a U.S.-designated terrorist group and direct Iranian proxy, even used Iraqi government helicopters to deliver arms and other supplies during the battle. Iran has led the way in developing Iraq's Shiite militias. Since May 2013, Tehran has bolstered its network of new and old Iraqi proxy groups to provide a steady flow of fighters to Syria. For example, Kataib Hezbollah -- a militia formed with the help of Lebanon’s Hezbollah in 2007 --today it boasts large deployments south of the cities of Baghdad, Diyala, and Amerli. The Badr Organization, an armed group in the thousands and one of Iran’s primary clients in Iraq, is another pillar of Tehran’s efforts to develop Shiite militias… But it is in Baghdad where the Badr Organization’s influence is strongest. The group’s sway extends deep into Iraq's Internal Security Forces, where it is said to directly manage many police and special operations-type groups. Badr also has great influence in the political sphere: It has secured key positions within the Iraqi government…
“Asaib Ahl al-Haq has been another major Iranian proxy in Iraq… During the war, it gained a degree of infamy for its kidnappings and executions of British contractors and American soldiers. The group has sent many fighters to Syria, and in early 2014 started to deploy in Iraq's restive Anbar province to combat the government’s Sunni enemies. The growing power of these militias is a sign that, despite Maliki’s removal as prime minister, the Iraqi government remains beholden to deeply sectarian forces. These militias have generally retained their operational independence from Baghdad, even as they exploit the county’s nascent democratic system to gain support through their domination of official bodies. They are not simply addendums to the state -- they are the state, and do not answer to any authority in Baghdad, but only to their own clerical leaders or Tehran.”