PRESENCE OF QUDS FORCE IN IRAQ ONLY STRENGTHENS IRAN

Press Release

30 October 2014

Iraq: Increasing presence of Iranian Quds Force militants only strengthens ISIS

The growing presence of the Iranian Quds Force militants in various parts of Iraq has raised concerns about the policies of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and the US government that is leading an international coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS).

On one hand this strengthens the ruling theocracy in Iran in spreading its influence and on the other hand it fuels the ISIS terrorists, sending a clear message to the Iraqi people that the al-Abadi government is a mirror image of Maliki and that US air strikes are really assisting the Shiites in their relentless and bloody conflict with the Sunnis. The inevitable result will be to turn what is currently a bloody regional conflict into a holy war.

The Washington Post reported on October 25 on the operations of the Iraqi government forces in Jarf al-Sakhar in southern Iraq. They quoted a security official involved in the operation as stating: “we were sent so many reinforcements. Those reinforcements were largely from Shiite militias backed by Iran, including the Badr Brigade and Asaib Ahl al-Haq”. On his television channel, Badr Brigade commander Hadi al-Ameri claimed to have led the operation in tandem with the country’s new Interior Minister, who is a member of his party. “All the weapons we are using are Iranian, and we are proud of that”,  said a fighter with Kitaeb Hezbollah.

The Iranian state-run ISNA news agency reported on October 26th, “… this operation began on the evening of Friday, 24 October 2014, dubbed as ‘Ashura’ in which the strategically important Jarf al-Sakhar region north of Babel Province was liberated. General Suleimani, commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, has been seen these days at the front lines of the battle in Jarf al-Sakhar.”

The Sawt al-Iraq website wrote on October 25, “…Suleimani is leading clashes against ISIS around Baghdad’s southern beltway area to cleanse these areas of members of this organization before the [Islamic holy] month of Moharram (starting late October).”

Al-Tagheer TV cited Lebanon’s al-Mustaqbel daily, “…Qassem Suleimani, along with former Iraqi Transportation Minister Hadi al-Ameri, commander of the Badr militants, and Abu Mahdi al-Mohandess, are present in the Jarf al-Sakhar operations theatre supervising the ‘Imam Ali’ battalions. Militants of the Hezbollah, Asaeb Ahl al-Haq and Badr corps, along with a small force of the Iraqi Army, participated in this operation.”

The Iranian regime is quickly becoming reassured that the US and EU will not interfere or criticise its dangerous meddling in Iraq, even although it now clearly involves the elite Iranian Quds Force, which is on every Western Terrorist List. The Fars news agency of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) reported on October 28, “The Islamic Republic of Iran’s long arm, being the IRGC Quds Force, with its advisory and arms support, was able to first prevent the fall of Iraq in its entirety, and in the next stage liberate Iraqi cities and areas, one after another, from the control of terrorists forces with the support of the Iraqis. Qassem Suleimani was present from the north to the centre areas, and anywhere there were military clashes that resulted in victories. Iraqi forces consider Suleimain’s presence, and that of his forces, as the factor behind their victory.”

This news agency added that Iran’s goal from this meddling is to “build up its national security outside of its borders” and by emphasizing the fact that General John Allen in an interview with CNN “recognized Iran’s role in the fight against ISIS and said Iran can have a constructive role”, this news agency added General Allen “did not imagine with the weapons and air force of regional and international countries he would actually be in the shadow of Qassem Suleimani, who is leading the front against ISIS and the victory over this takfiri terrorist group.”

The European Iraqi Freedom Association recalls its 10 September and 20 October 2014 statements, and once again warns Mr. al-Abadi and the international coalition forces that the Iranian regime and its proxies in the region are the main cause of the expansion of ISIS; their foremost objective currently is to expand their influence in Iraq and the region and not to fight ISIS. Evicting the Iranian regime from Iraq and Syria is a binding necessity to defeat ISIS. Moreover, any interference by Tehran, the terrorist Quds Force and its affiliated militants will only prolong the on-going crisis and insecurity in the region.

Struan Stevenson

Chairman of European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009-2014) and President of European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA)