Iraqi militias – Iraq War News http://iraqwarnews.net/ Fri, 19 Nov 2021 03:07:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://iraqwarnews.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/icon-120x120.png Iraqi militias – Iraq War News http://iraqwarnews.net/ 32 32 Sadr calls for majority government and “liquidation” of Iraqi militias https://iraqwarnews.net/sadr-calls-for-majority-government-and-liquidation-of-iraqi-militias/ Thu, 18 Nov 2021 21:47:55 +0000 https://iraqwarnews.net/sadr-calls-for-majority-government-and-liquidation-of-iraqi-militias/ In the political deadlock that followed the Iraqi elections of October 10, the Iraqi president Barham Salih welcomed a meeting with Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Council Faiq Zaidan on November 18 at Baghdad Palace in the Green Zone. “The participants discussed an initiative to resolve the current political […]]]>

In the political deadlock that followed the Iraqi elections of October 10, the Iraqi president Barham Salih welcomed a meeting with Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Council Faiq Zaidan on November 18 at Baghdad Palace in the Green Zone.

“The participants discussed an initiative to resolve the current political crisis, which will be presented to the political forces in a way that paves the way for the formation of an effective government serving the interests of the people and protecting the supreme interests of the country. “, we read in a press release from the Iraqi presidency.

Details of the initiative have not yet been announced. But the big picture of the initiative emerges from recent statements by Salih, Kadhimi and Zaidan.

Chief Justice Zaidan confirmed the the integrity of the October elections, claiming that “there is no legal evidence to prove” that they were rigged.

The Independent Electoral Commission has received hundreds of complaints. Only a few were identified as valid, resulting in a very minor change in the election results.

The complaint review process has been rechecked by a judicial team under the supervision of the Judicial Council, and the final results are expected to be confirmed by the Federal Court next week.

The President and the Prime Minister also affirmed the need to submit to legal proceedings any complaint concerning the results of the elections.

It was then that members of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and some of their supporters blocked a door to the green zone and also gathered in front of another door that leads to most government buildings and foreign embassies. The demonstrators demand the cancellation of the election results and the holding of a new election with a new electoral commission.

The protests have become violent, killing two and injuring more than 150 so far. The majority of the injured are security forces who were attacked by demonstrators with stones, wood and other objects.

A drone attack on the Prime Minister’s house came as part of pressure on the government to comply with protesters’ demands. Instead, the attack reinforced support for the government, the Prime Minister and even for the election results – which were welcomed by the United Nations and also by the Security Council.

In response to protests against the election results, leader of the Sadrist movement Muqtada al-Sadr, which won the most seats in the election, confirmed at a press conference on October 18 that he is ready to form a majority government.

Sadr met two weeks ago the Speaker of Parliament Mohammed al-Halbusi, who obtained the majority of Sunni votes and 34 seats, as well as a delegation from the Kurdistan Democratic Party, which obtained the majority of Kurdish votes and 37 seats.

The final results have not been officially announced as they require federal court approval. So the above number can be changed very slightly.

The meeting was read as an intention to form a coalition for the next government, meaning that the political wings of PMU and their allies will be out of government.

Sadr’s meeting with Halbusi and the delegation of the Kurdistan Democratic Party led to the violence of the demonstrators, as they saw it as an attempt to form a majority government and to withdraw the PMU and its allies from the new government.

It appears that Sadr is now trying to confront his political rivals with political reality, confirming that he is not ready to give up or show tolerance towards them.

“All have witnessed the integrity of the recent elections,” Sadr said at his press conference. “We are seeking to form a government with a national majority. “

Sadr also tried to put the ball in his rival’s court, calling for the disarmament of militias outside the PMU.

“I call for the liquidation of the unruly elements of PMU,” he said. “All armed factions must be dissolved and disarmed immediately – their weapons must be turned over to PMFs supervised by the commander-in-chief [of the military forces (Kadhimi)]. “

Sadr’s statement strongly rocked the political scene, as the political wings of the PMU and their allies, which formed the post-election coordination framework, called for an immediate meeting on the evening of November 18 at the home of the leader of the Hikma block, Sayyed Ammar. Hakim to discuss a response to Sadr’s press conference.

It seems that going forward with a majority government, as Sadr wishes, will be very difficult in this environment, and the next government will most likely be a consensus government, like all previous governments after 2003.


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Iraqi militias: US behind assassination attempt on prime minister https://iraqwarnews.net/iraqi-militias-us-behind-assassination-attempt-on-prime-minister/ Mon, 08 Nov 2021 08:00:00 +0000 https://iraqwarnews.net/iraqi-militias-us-behind-assassination-attempt-on-prime-minister/ The following report is now an add-on to MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, Click here. On November 7, 2021, a Telegram channel affiliated with Iranian-backed militias in Iraq, published a series of posters accusing the United States of orchestrating the attempted assassination of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, perpetrated […]]]>

The following report is now an add-on to MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, Click here.

On November 7, 2021, a Telegram channel affiliated with Iranian-backed militias in Iraq, published a series of posters accusing the United States of orchestrating the attempted assassination of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, perpetrated That day. using a drone equipped with explosives.[1]

Entitled “The Assassination Attempt on Al-Kadhimi – Obvious US Fingerprints,” the posters are an example of these militias’ efforts to refute accusations that they were behind the assassination attempt.

“The United States tries to cover up the crime of Al-Kadhimi of ordering the killing of peaceful protesters”

A poster claimed that the drone attack on Al-Kadhimi’s home only took place a day after clashes between Iraqi security forces and supporters of Iranian-backed militias, describing the events as “crimes against peaceful civilian protesters in Tahrir Square, where Iraqi security forces fired live ammunition at protesters, killing four martyrs and injuring 125 others.” The posters also alleged that security forces “had set fire to [protesters’] tents. “

Supporters of Iranian-backed militias have been demonstrating for weeks near Baghdad’s green zone, expressing their rejection of the results of the recent parliamentary elections, in which some pro-Iranian parties lost many seats.

The poster claimed that Al-Kahdimi had given the order to shoot the demonstrators and that “there is an American will to cover up this crime” and to save Al-Kadhimi by “presenting him as a victim”.

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“US wants to divert public attention from requests for recounting of votes”

The second poster in the series explained that “the United States is trying to distract the public from the protesters’ demand for a manual ballot recount.”

He further accused the United States of attempting to obstruct the formation of a parliamentary bloc loyal to the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and resistance factions. By preventing the formation of such a bloc, the poster said, “the United States will be able to impose its agenda on the Council of Representatives and on Iraq.”

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“The United States is trying to blame the PMU for the assassination attempt in Iran”

The third poster in the series claimed that Washington was seeking to wreak havoc in Iraq by stoking sectarian strife and pushing the country into a “trap of discord.”

He adds that the United States plans to attribute the responsibility for the assassination attempt, and more broadly for the security instability in Iraq, on the PMU, recalling that the drones used in the attack on Al-Kadhimi belong to militias and Iranian.

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“The United States wants to justify an international intervention against the PMU”

The fourth poster claimed that “creating such chaos will provide a pretext for foreign troops to stay in Iraq, despite claims from Washington that it plans to withdraw its forces by the end of the year.” He went on to say that this would also serve as a pretext for “international intervention” in Iraq.

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“Why didn’t the US Embassy radar system intercept the drones targeting Al-Kadhimi’s residence?” “

In its fifth poster, the channel asked why the US Embassy, ​​which has a C-RAM system, used to detect and destroy incoming rockets, was not activated to intercept the drones that targeted the residence of ‘Al-Kadhimi. The poster claims it blames the United States as being involved in the drone attack.

“The United States is behind the instability in the region”

The latest poster concluded the series by asserting that the United States has no intention of reducing its involvement in the Middle East, and that even as it reduces its military presence in the region, Washington plans to continue orchestrating the political and security instability.

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[1] Telegram, November 7, 2021.


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Iraqi militias continue to threaten US forces in Iraq https://iraqwarnews.net/iraqi-militias-continue-to-threaten-us-forces-in-iraq/ Wed, 03 Nov 2021 15:30:01 +0000 https://iraqwarnews.net/iraqi-militias-continue-to-threaten-us-forces-in-iraq/ The following report is now a MEMRI Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) offering. For JTTM subscription information, Click here. In the first days of November 2021, two Telegrams Channels supporting Iranian-backed militias in Iraq have published posters threatening US forces in Iraq. A poster, which aired on November 2, 2021 on the Murad Telegram […]]]>

The following report is now a MEMRI Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) offering. For JTTM subscription information, Click here.

In the first days of November 2021, two Telegrams Channels supporting Iranian-backed militias in Iraq have published posters threatening US forces in Iraq.

A poster, which aired on November 2, 2021 on the Murad Telegram channel, depicts the American flag in flames with Arabic and English text that reads: “Vengeance is Coming.” The poster was shared with the hashtag # 59daysleft, which at the time was the number of days left until the end of 2021, when US President Joe Biden designated for the US military’s withdrawal from Iraq.[1]

A poster published on November 3, 2021 by the Sabereen News Telegram channel was clearly inspired by the Netflix series “Squid Game”, a South Korean drama in which a secret international elite offers those burdened with debt a chance to make money. if they play. and win the schoolyard matches, with the catch as the losers are shot on the spot. Suspenseful, brutal and exciting, and embodying the universal themes of inequality, greed and oppression, with apparently over 142 million viewers, the show is Netflix’s most-watched series to date. The poster uses elements of a scene from “Squid Game” in which the contestants play the children’s game Red Light / Green Light, and depicts American soldiers, several of whom are lying dead and bleeding on the ground, engaged in the game. The accompanying message in English reads: “Coming soon.[2] This is not the first time that Telegram channels supporting Iranian-backed militias have designed menacing posters using elements from Netflix’s highly popular violent series.[3]

The context for the posters’ publication is the current situation where Shiite groups in Iraq are stepping up threats to attack U.S. forces in the country if they do not withdraw by the end of 2021.[4] Meanwhile, attacks on US forces logistics support convoys in Iraq continue.[5]


[1] Telegram, November 2, 2021.

[2] Telegram, November 2, 2021.


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Iraqi militias claim to attack eight US logistics convoys in 24 hours https://iraqwarnews.net/iraqi-militias-claim-to-attack-eight-us-logistics-convoys-in-24-hours/ Thu, 26 Aug 2021 15:57:00 +0000 https://iraqwarnews.net/iraqi-militias-claim-to-attack-eight-us-logistics-convoys-in-24-hours/ Middle East 18:57 GMT 26.08.2021(updated at 19:07 GMT on 26.08.2021) Get a short url Shiite militias allied with Baghdad in Iraq expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s recently signed US Forces Agreement, which allows a limited contingent of US troops to remain in the country, and insisted on that all US personnel, including trainers and elements […]]]>
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Shiite militias allied with Baghdad in Iraq expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s recently signed US Forces Agreement, which allows a limited contingent of US troops to remain in the country, and insisted on that all US personnel, including trainers and elements of the United States Air Force, leave the country immediately.

Shiite militias targeted up to eight US logistics convoys in a single day, Sabreen News, alleged a media affiliated with the militias.

The series of suspected attacks reportedly took place on Tuesday, with convoys targeted in the Nasiriyah and Samawah areas in southeast Iraq, and two more were attacked in al-Diwaniyah, capital of al province. -Qadisiyyah, in the southeast. Two improvised explosive device attacks were reported in Babil province, with a US military logistics convoy targeted in Yusufiyah district of Baghdad, other vehicles attacked in al-Taji and two other convoys hit in the provinces. al-Muthana and Dhi Qar.

Qasem al-Jabbarin (lit. “Smasher of the Oppressors”), an obscure militia force that US officials say is a front for Kataib Hezbollah specializing in roadside bombings, claimed responsibility attacks. The United States classifies Kataib Hezbollah as a “terrorist organization” and has repeatedly attacked militant facilities in Iraq and Syria, drawing condemnation from officials in Baghdad and Damascus.

According to Arabic-language media ISWNews, Tuesday’s attacks resulted in the total number of strikes against US logistics convoys in Iraq up to 130 since March.

The Pentagon has not commented on the alleged attacks.

Qasem al-Jabbarin released images showing what appear to be multiple roadside explosions near convoys of tankers and trucks traveling along the highways. Sputnik has not been able to verify the footage to determine that it was filmed when and where the militias claim it was.

Shiite militias have long targeted U.S. supply convoys, with attacks typically affecting supply convoys, but also troops and equipment fleets, and columns of trucks entering the country from Syria in the west and south. Kuwait to the south. The United States regularly transports military vehicles and trucks loaded with stolen Syrian oil and wheat through the illegal al-Waleed crossing point between western Iraq and southern Syria.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and US President Joe Biden reached a deal last month whereby all US fighting forces would be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of 2021, with some US troops allowed to stay for a “training, advising, assisting and intelligence-sharing role. The two sides did not say how many US troops would remain in the new year, or whether any of the existing” combat troops “would be renamed for other roles in the coming months.

Some Iraqi Shiite militias have expressed dissatisfaction with the troop withdrawal agreement, demanding that all U.S. forces, including trainers and all U.S. Air Force personnel, also leave the country.

The United States has significantly reduced the number of its troops in Iraq since 2020 and the consequences of the unprovoked assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad in January of the same year, which prompted Shiite militias to strike on American bases. with artillery and led the Iraqi parliament to issue a resolution demanding that all troops leave the country. Between March 2020 and January 2021, the number of US troops in Iraq increased from 5,300 to 2,500 in total. The Trump administration has indicated that the United States may leave Iraq completely by the end of 2020, but the Biden administration has frozen those plans pending negotiations on a new “security partnership” with Baghdad.

The United States has now had forces in Iraq for fifteen of the past eighteen years, invading the country in 2003 and withdrawing troops in 2011. In 2014, the rise of Daesh terrorists (ISIS) * gave the United States – United a pretext to return. Daesh was defeated in 2017, but US forces remained, with Washington justifying its presence by the alleged threat posed by the reconstituting terrorist group.


* A terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.



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IS kills 3 Iraqi militias https://iraqwarnews.net/is-kills-3-iraqi-militias/ Sun, 22 Aug 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://iraqwarnews.net/is-kills-3-iraqi-militias/ TIKRIT: Three fighters from a pro-Iranian militia were killed in Iraq on Friday when the Islamic State (IS) group attacked their base near Baghdad, a paramilitary and a security source said. The men were from the Nujaba movement, part of the Hashed al-Shaabi coalition of Shiite militias that primarily support Iran. Both sources said they […]]]>

TIKRIT: Three fighters from a pro-Iranian militia were killed in Iraq on Friday when the Islamic State (IS) group attacked their base near Baghdad, a paramilitary and a security source said.

The men were from the Nujaba movement, part of the Hashed al-Shaabi coalition of Shiite militias that primarily support Iran.

Both sources said they were killed in an IS attack on their base in Tarmiya, north of Baghdad, and seven other fighters were injured.

Formed in 2014 to support the Iraqi army in its fight against IS jihadists, the Hashed controlled large swathes of the country at the time but have since been integrated into the armed forces.

In recent months, the anti-American movement has welcomed the attacks on American interests in Iraq, without claiming responsibility.

The United States and Israel fear that some Hashed units are under Iranian orders rather than the Iraqi chain of command.

Some ISIS jihadist cells remained active even after Iraq declared the jihadist group defeated in 2017, notably in the Tarmiya region and the deserts of northern Iraq.

They attacked the Iraqi security forces as well as the Hached and other Shiites, who form the majority of Muslims in Iraq but are considered by ISIS to be apostates.

Last month, ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack that killed 30 people at a market in the densely populated Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad.


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Soleimani’s assassination was supposed to weaken the Iraqi militias. Instead, they flex their muscles. https://iraqwarnews.net/soleimanis-assassination-was-supposed-to-weaken-the-iraqi-militias-instead-they-flex-their-muscles/ Wed, 04 Aug 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://iraqwarnews.net/soleimanis-assassination-was-supposed-to-weaken-the-iraqi-militias-instead-they-flex-their-muscles/ Atop a scene on the left, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi greeted the saluting troops as they passed, flanked by senior PMF leaders who had largely avoided appearing in public since the fateful state strike -United. The show was a show of force intended not only to mark an anniversary, but also to signal the […]]]>

Atop a scene on the left, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi greeted the saluting troops as they passed, flanked by senior PMF leaders who had largely avoided appearing in public since the fateful state strike -United.

The show was a show of force intended not only to mark an anniversary, but also to signal the recovery of the paramilitaries after the setback suffered by the assassinations of Soleimani and Mohandis, and the groups’ determination to push back the US military presence in Iraq.

“It was a message to those who were trying to weaken and dismantle the PMF, including America,” said Jaafar al-Husseini, the military spokesman for Kataib Hezbollah, one of the groups backed by the PMF. Iran within the PMF whom the United States accuses of targeting its forces.

“The message is that the PMF is here to stay and that it is developing in terms of equipment, training and institutionalization,” Husseini told POLITICO in a rare interview in his Baghdad office, adorned with photos of Soleimani, Mohandis and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah. Ali Khamenei.

The PMF’s military parade has been closely watched by US officials, who are grappling with a new wave of militia attacks on US facilities in Iraq.

“They certainly have a lot more money and they have a lot [more] weapons, ”a US official with extensive knowledge of Iraq told POLITICO when asked to compare the capabilities of the PMF today and two years ago. The official, like several other interviewees for this article, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive topics.

Since the assassinations of Soleimaini and Mohandis, Iranian-backed militias within the PMF have mobilized to avenge the deaths of their leaders and have found more sophisticated ways to target the US-led military coalition further. besieged in Iraq, according to Iraqi and American officials, militia leaders and regional experts. These changes suggest that the assassinations, the The Trump administration has claimed would establish “real deterrence” against the militias, failed to prevent further attacks on US troops.

Instead, the strike plunged Iraq into a new round of instability as militias intensified and expanded their operations, while consolidating their grip on power within the loose PMF group. On two occasions this year, the Biden administration has ordered strikes against Iranian-backed militias in retaliation for attacks on US forces.

The fallout has exposed the limits of Iraqi security forces to control the increasingly powerful and well-resourced militias as the United States reduces its military presence in Iraq. Last week, Kadhimi and US President Joe Biden agreed to withdraw US “combat troops” from Iraq after seven years of fighting ISIS there – a largely symbolic decision, as most troops will be reclassified in non-combatant roles. Ahead of the announcement, the US official described the impending move as a “face-saving” strategy for Kadhimi, who has come under pressure from Iran-backed groups to completely withdraw foreign troops from Iraq.

Iraqi officials say the inability to anticipate the consequences of the assassinations indicates the US government’s limited understanding of the country’s complex internal dynamics. They believe the killings motivated militias to step up attacks on US and Iraqi targets, making an already fragile Iraq even more unstable.

PMF was formed in 2014, and initially found success in the fight against ISIS alongside US forces and the coalition. But after ISIS’s territorial defeat in 2017, latent differences between Iranian-backed militias and US forces began to spill over.

The January 2020 strike on Soleimani’s convoy near Baghdad airport was the culmination of months of growing US-Iran tensions in the region, most of which took place on Iraqi soil.

At the end of 2019, a series of attacks between the United States and Iran-backed groups left one American entrepreneur and 27 Kataib Hezbollah fighters dead. The deaths of the militiamen prompted an angry mob to burn down and vandalize the exterior doors of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad during a two-day siege over New Year’s Eve. Days after drone strike killed Soleimani and Mohandis, more than 100 US servicemen seeking refuge in bunkers suffered brain damage when Iran fired retaliatory missiles at a base in western Iraq.

Then President Donald Trump noted the strike against Soleimani aimed to “stop a war” and was based on intelligence that the commander was planning imminent attacks against US interests. But no evidence to support these claims has been made public. A UN investigation later, the deaths of the two leaders and the eight others killed by the strike were described as “illegal”.

The unilateral action on Iraqi soil sparked a backlash against the American presence. After the assassinations, the Iraqi parliament voted to overthrow all US and coalition troops. The United States subsequently reduced its strength from 5,000 to 2,500 and consolidated its presence in fewer bases. Although coalition officials said the pullout was planned because anti-ISIS operations were ending, the two assassinations made the coalition presence more difficult to maintain, putting US troops at risk of retaliation and tending to US-Iraqi ties.

A complete withdrawal of the remaining 2,500 soldiers is under discussion at ongoing negotiations between Washington and Baghdad. The recent announcement to reclassify US operations as non-combat operations will allow US trainers and advisers to remain on the ground, while allowing Kadhimi to show he is following through on parliament’s decision to oust foreign troops .

Even as the political aftershocks As the murders of Soleimani and Mohandis continue to complicate the US presence in Iraq, they appear to have turned against them in their original objective: to prevent Iranian-backed militias from attacking US forces.

As part of the groups’ efforts to reaffirm their strength, leaders and analysts point to the increased militia attacks not only on US interests, but also on Iraqi activists, analysts, protest leaders and security officials. The Iraqi Human Rights Commission has documented 81 assassination attempts since October 2019, of which 34 were successful. The UN has published several reports detailing crimes against protesters and critics by militias.

“Their operations have increased,” said a senior Iraqi government official who is not authorized to speak to the press. The official noted that as part of a campaign to subvert the state, militias are now openly show their strength in the streets, including through newly formed vigilante groups. These measures undermined US efforts to support Kadhimi’s government and further eroded public confidence in the Iraqi state’s ability to assert the rule of law.

“It is a threat because these forces weaken Iraq”, admitted the American official.

These campaigns are a sign that the disappearance of Mohandis and Soleimani did not hamper the tactical capabilities of the paramilitaries, even though their deaths left a leadership vacuum that reduced Iranian influence in Iraq.

“You cannot underestimate the damage the killing of people like Soleimani and Mohandis has done to Iranian strategy in the region,” said Hamdi Malik, an associate researcher at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, which monitors the activities of the militias in Iraq.

“However,” he added, “now that [the PMF] is part of the state and to a large extent financially independent, their organizational capacities are improving.

The PMF was nominally incorporated into the Iraqi security forces by a 2016 law and a 2018 decree. This official status enabled its factions to gain legitimacy, weaponry and public funds. The government budget allocation for PMF was $ 2.5 billion in 2021, an increase of 45.7% compared to 2019.

Some groups within the PMF also used their military power to take control lucrative sectors of the economy. Although data on their business activities is scarce, the additional resources have enabled them to become more financially and operationally independent from Tehran.

“They don’t need the same support from Iran,” says Malik.


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Revelations Highlight Iran’s Role in Anti-US Attacks by Iraqi Militias | https://iraqwarnews.net/revelations-highlight-irans-role-in-anti-us-attacks-by-iraqi-militias/ Wed, 14 Jul 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://iraqwarnews.net/revelations-highlight-irans-role-in-anti-us-attacks-by-iraqi-militias/ BAGHDAD – A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander urged Iraqi Shiite militias to step up attacks on US targets during a meeting in Baghdad last week, three Iraqi militia sources and two Iraqi security sources told Reuters close to the gathering. US forces in Iraq and Syria have been repeatedly attacked following visit by Iranian […]]]>

BAGHDAD – A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander urged Iraqi Shiite militias to step up attacks on US targets during a meeting in Baghdad last week, three Iraqi militia sources and two Iraqi security sources told Reuters close to the gathering.

US forces in Iraq and Syria have been repeatedly attacked following visit by Iranian delegation led by Revolutionary Guards intelligence chief Hossein Taeb after deadly US airstrikes against supported militias by Iran at the Syrian-Iraqi border on June 27.

While encouraging retaliation, the Iranians have advised the Iraqis not to go too far in order to prevent a confrontation from escalating, three militia sources briefed on the meeting said.

The Iranians, however, advised them to expand their attacks by retaliating against US forces in Syria, according to one of the three militia sources, a senior local militia commander informed of the meeting.

The conflagration comes as major differences cloud diplomatic efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which was scrapped by former US President Donald Trump but which Iran wants to reinstate to allow it to resume its mainstream oil exports.

A senior official in the region, who was briefed by Iranian authorities about Taeb’s visit, said that Taeb met several Iraqi militia leaders during the trip and conveyed to them “the message from the Supreme Leader on maintaining peace. pressure on US forces in Iraq until they leave the Region “.

Since the US airstrikes, attacks on US troops and personnel or the bases where they operate have intensified in Iraq and spread to eastern Syria.

Iran’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to Reuters questions about the story, and officials at the Revolutionary Guard’s public relations office were not immediately available for comment.

Iran’s envoy to the UN this month denied US accusations that Tehran supported attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria and condemned US airstrikes against Iran-backed militants there. low.

There was no immediate response from the Iraqi government or the prime minister’s office to questions about the meeting.

The sources Reuters referred to did so on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

– Near Khamenei –

The largest Shiite-majority country in the Arab world, Iraq has been the scene of a US-Iranian rivalry since the US-led invasion that overthrew Sunni leader Saddam Hussein in 2003.

The Shiite militias are waging a sustained and increasingly sophisticated campaign against the American forces which, after withdrawing in 2011, returned to Iraq in 2014 at the head of a coalition to fight the extremist group Islamic State (IS ).

But attacks, including drones loaded with explosives, have shifted into high gear since the US airstrikes, which Iran-aligned militias say killed four of their members.

The two Iraqi security sources familiar with the groups’ activities and operations said the Iranians handed their Iraqi allies air maps of US positions in eastern Syria during the July 5 meeting.

The Pentagon has said it is deeply concerned about the attacks, including a July 7 rocket barrage at the Ain al-Asad air base in which two U.S. servicemen were injured.

A senior officer in the guards, Taeb is a middle-ranking Shiite cleric considered by insiders and analysts of Iranian politics to be close to the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The senior regional official said Khamenei sent Taeb to Iraq after site visits by Brigadier General Esmail Qaani, who was appointed to head the Guards’ expeditionary wing, the Quds Force last year, failed. failed to get an escalation.

An Iraqi government official said it appeared Iran was looking to use its allies in Iraq to push for a return to the nuclear deal, under which severe US sanctions would be lifted in exchange for restrictions on Iran’s atomic activities.

A senior Iranian diplomat said Taeb’s visit to Baghdad indicated Khamenei was directly involved in Iraqi affairs following the murder of General Qassem Soleimani, the former Quds Force chief, in a US drone strike in Iraq at the beginning of last year.

A spokesperson for one of the Iran-backed militias affected by the US airstrike last month confirmed the recent attacks were carried out by the Iraqi Islamic Resistance, a reference to Iran-backed Shiite groups .

“The military escalation against US forces will continue until all of their fighting forces leave Iraq,” Kadhim al-Fartousi, spokesman for the Kataib Sayyed al-Shuhada faction, told Reuters.

Saad al-Saadi, a senior official in the political bureau of the Iranian-backed group of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, said that if the Americans continued to hit the militias, more effective attacks on American forces could be expected. anywhere in Iraq and Syria. .

The meeting was held in the upscale Jadiriya neighborhood of Baghdad, at a villa just across the Tigris from the United States Embassy, ​​two of the local militia commanders said.

Iran and the United States began indirect negotiations in Vienna in early April to restore the nuclear deal. No date has been set for further talks, which adjourned on June 20.

Some Western and Iranian officials have said the talks are far from concluded, as disagreements over US sanctions should be lifted and over which nuclear commitments Iran should make and when they remain in place.


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Iran calls on Iraqi militias to attack US, as Pentagon asserts right to self-defense https://iraqwarnews.net/iran-calls-on-iraqi-militias-to-attack-us-as-pentagon-asserts-right-to-self-defense/ Wed, 14 Jul 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://iraqwarnews.net/iran-calls-on-iraqi-militias-to-attack-us-as-pentagon-asserts-right-to-self-defense/ WASHINGTON, DC (Kurdistan 24) – On Tuesday, Reuters reported that Hossein Taeb, intelligence chief of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), visited Baghdad last week and “urged Iraqi Shiite militias to step up their attacks on US targets ”in retaliation for US airstrikes against militias on June 27 along the Syrian-Iraqi border. Read more: US […]]]>

WASHINGTON, DC (Kurdistan 24) – On Tuesday, Reuters reported that Hossein Taeb, intelligence chief of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), visited Baghdad last week and “urged Iraqi Shiite militias to step up their attacks on US targets ”in retaliation for US airstrikes against militias on June 27 along the Syrian-Iraqi border.

Read more: US launches limited airstrikes against Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria

These rather limited-in-scope US airstrikes were undertaken in immediate response to an attempted drone attack on Baghdad the previous week and a drone attack on the outskirts of Erbil province on June 26.

Read more: Drone attack targets outskirts of Erbil province

These two attacks followed a series of drone strikes by Iranian-backed militias: an April 14 attack on a CIA hangar at Erbil International Airport; a May 8 attack on Ain al-Asad air base in Anbar province, western Iraq; and a May 11 strike on a second installation in the Kurdistan region: Harir airfield, north of Erbil, which houses the JSOC, the US special operations command.

Read more: Pro-Iran militias using “more sophisticated weapons” against US forces in Iraq

A Lebanese American who worked as a translator for the US special forces and who was based in Erbil was recently sentenced by a US court to 23 years in prison for spying for the benefit of Lebanese Hezbollah. She probably provided the coordinates that enabled Iranian-backed militias to target the two sensitive US military sites in the Kurdistan region.

According to the Reuters report, Taeb “advised the Iraqis not to go too far” by attacking the United States “to avoid a great escalation.”

Asked about the story later on Tuesday, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby affirmed President Joe Biden’s “strong commitment to protecting the safety and security of our personnel in Iraq.”

“You’ve seen us act in the past in this regard, and we still retain the right of self-defense,” Kirby continued. “How and when we exercise this right is up to the commander-in-chief”, but the attacks are “potentially fatal, and we take them seriously”.

Last Wednesday, the Ain al-Asad air base was again attacked with 14 rockets, causing minor injuries.

Read more: 14 rockets hit the Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq; reported injuries: Coalition

Reuters contradicts previous PA report

On July 9, two days after the attack, the Associated Press (AP) published an article that was the exact opposite of Tuesday’s Reuters report. AP claimed that Esmail Ghaani, Qasim Soleimani’s successor as head of the IRGC’s Quds Force, visited Baghdad last month and told militias he supports to exercise restraint, until the conclusion of nuclear talks between the United States and Iran.

According to AP, the militia leaders rejected Ghaani’s leadership. They claimed that “they could not remain silent” and had to avenge the deaths of Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, who died alongside the Iranian in the US strike. of January 2020 which targeted it.

Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior researcher at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, where he works on Iran, credits the Reuters report rather than the PA report.

Ben Taleblu told Kurdistan 24 that he was “very skeptical” of the PA report when it came out. He noted that attacks by Iranian-backed militias in Iraq against US targets peaked in August 2020. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo then made very serious threats: shutting down the US embassy in Baghdad and relocating them. operations in Erbil.

US military action would follow and “liquidate all those found to be involved in these acts,” Pompeo reportedly warned.

Read more: U.S. to close Baghdad embassy, ​​but keep Erbil consulate open

The militias, with the support of the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for a truce that pretty much lasted for the rest of the Trump administration.

After the Biden administration took office, the attacks resumed. He retaliated twice by hitting militia targets along the Iraqi-Syrian border. His deliberate, understated, and proportionate response stands in stark contrast to Pompeo’s dramatic threat.

Ben Taleblu, criticizing the PA report, noted the inconsistency between the militias’ months-long truce following Pompeo’s stern warning and the claim that last month the militias rejected the Ghaani’s call for restraint until the conclusion of nuclear talks.

“All of a sudden, they feel obligated to respond to Muhandis [death]Asked Ben Taleblu. “I don’t see the situation like that at all.

Ben Taleblu still believes that most of the Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria only attack US targets if this is acceptable to Iran. The idea that Tehran told them to withdraw and that they refused seemed implausible to him, while he stressed that Tehran feared only one thing: “the threat of military force”. As he noted, the Reuters report is “consistent with Iran’s understanding of the dynamics of escalation.”

Indeed, the Biden administration does not appear to have created the basis for deterrence, but rather the “tit-for-tat”, with every modest American response being absorbed by the militias and their Iranian support, who will undoubtedly respond with more. attacks in the future.


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Drone attacks by Iraqi militias reflect declining Iranian grip https://iraqwarnews.net/drone-attacks-by-iraqi-militias-reflect-declining-iranian-grip/ Fri, 09 Jul 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://iraqwarnews.net/drone-attacks-by-iraqi-militias-reflect-declining-iranian-grip/ BAGHDAD – Iranian Expeditionary Force Commander Quds gave one main directive to long-indebted Iraqi militia faction leaders in Tehran, when he met with them in Baghdad last month: keep calm, until the end of nuclear talks between Iran and the United States. But he was greeted with suspicion. One of the six faction leaders spoke […]]]>

BAGHDAD – Iranian Expeditionary Force Commander Quds gave one main directive to long-indebted Iraqi militia faction leaders in Tehran, when he met with them in Baghdad last month: keep calm, until the end of nuclear talks between Iran and the United States.

But he was greeted with suspicion. One of the six faction leaders spoke at their meeting: they could not remain silent until the death of his predecessor Qassim Soleimani and top Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in a strike US drones were not avenged.

Militia attacks have only increased against the United States at military bases in Iraq and Syria. Three missile attacks in the last week alone have left minor injuries, stoking fears of an escalation.

Details of Esmail Ghaani’s visit, confirmed to The Associated Press by three Shiite politicians and two senior militia officials, show how Iraqi militias aligned with Iran are claiming some independence, sometimes even flouting orders from Tehran. Iran is now relying on Lebanese Hezbollah to support it and it is possible that the new Iranian president will play a role in doing the same.

Officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private meetings.

Iran’s influence, backed by ideological ties and military backing, has frayed over the US murder of Soleimani and al-Muhandis last year, due to competing interests and financial strains in Tehran. With the resumption of nuclear talks after the inauguration of US President Joe Biden this year, these differences have become evident.

“Iran is not the same as it used to be, with 100% control over the militia commanders,” said a Shiite political leader.

The rise in rocket and drone attacks targeting US troops in Iraq and Syria has alarmed Western and coalition officials. There have been at least eight drone attacks targeting the U.S. presence since Biden took office in January, as well as 17 rocket attacks, according to coalition officials.

The attacks are blamed on the Iranian-backed militias who make up the bulk of the state-backed Iraqi popular mobilization forces. The Biden administration responded by twice targeting Iraqi militias operating inside Syria, notably near the Iraqi border.

“What is happening now is that when Ghaani asks for calm, the brigade leaders agree with him. But as soon as he leaves the meeting, they ignore his recommendations, ”said another Shiite politician.

The strongest voice of the rebel militias has been Qais al-Khazali, leader of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq faction, which also maintains a political party. On June 17, just days after Ghaani’s meetings with the militias, he said in a televised address that they would continue to target the US “occupier” and would not take nuclear talks into consideration.

“And this decision is Iraqi,” he said.

The coalition has officially ended combat operations and drastically reduced troop numbers over the past year. Only 2,500 American troops remain in Iraq and discussions are underway with NATO for a transfer to an advisory mission. Iraq still needs coalition support for surveillance and intelligence gathering and airstrikes against ISIS targets.

Some argue that the ongoing attacks are benefiting Iran by keeping the pressure on the US

In discussions with Shiite politicians during his visit, Ghani said Iran does not interfere in their political work, but military issues are different. “These must be approved by the Revolutionary Guards,” said a politician.

Yet Ghaani did not reprimand the militia groups during the meeting. Instead, he told them he understood their concerns.

Iran has struggled to fill the void left in the absence of Soleimani and al-Muhandis, who commanded figures capable of bringing factions into line and resolving differences between them.

“Ghaani has a different style and ability,” said Michael Knights, Washington Institute fellow. He has a looser framework, setting out big red lines on some issues, while “other things are ‘don’t ask, don’t say,” he said.

In addition to asking for less, cash-strapped Iran has also given less. Aid to groups has been drastically cut since US sanctions began crippling Iran’s economy last year.

Divisions between factions worsened, with increasing competition between militias and Shia politicians.

Ghaani came to meet with militia leaders to ease tensions that had been sparked weeks earlier when Iraqi authorities arrested a paramilitary commander, Qassim Musleh, causing an impasse between PMF fighters and the security forces. Ghaani brought a letter from Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei criticizing the PMF for its reaction, saying it was weakening its position.

To pressure factions, Iran has come to rely on Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah in Lebanon, a figure the militias have great respect for. Almost every week, various faction leaders hold face-to-face meetings with him in Lebanon, Shiite political leaders said.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, elected in June, could also be a unifying figure for the militias, which he holds in high regard, politicians and militiamen have said. When Raisi visited Baghdad in February, he met the PMF commanders and told them, in common Arabic: “Our flesh is your flesh, and our blood is your blood. Ghaani communicates with the brigade leaders through an interpreter.

“The resistance will gain strength and have its best moments thanks to Raisi’s electoral victory,” Abu Alaa al-Walae, commander of Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, said in a recent interview.

Associated Press writer Bassem Mroue contributed from Beirut.

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SAS hero nearly ‘s *** ered’ as he took out Iraqi militias in high speed shootout https://iraqwarnews.net/sas-hero-nearly-s-ered-as-he-took-out-iraqi-militias-in-high-speed-shootout/ Mon, 05 Jul 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://iraqwarnews.net/sas-hero-nearly-s-ered-as-he-took-out-iraqi-militias-in-high-speed-shootout/ A former SAS: Who Dares Wins star has revealed he got “s ***” in a “hell orchestra” shootout with Iraqi militias. Matthew ‘Ollie’ Ollerton admitted he lost control of his bowels when raiders fired four AK47s as he escorted 12 VIPs from Jordan to the Iraqi capital Baghdad in 2003. The 50-year-old former special forces […]]]>

A former SAS: Who Dares Wins star has revealed he got “s ***” in a “hell orchestra” shootout with Iraqi militias.

Matthew ‘Ollie’ Ollerton admitted he lost control of his bowels when raiders fired four AK47s as he escorted 12 VIPs from Jordan to the Iraqi capital Baghdad in 2003.

The 50-year-old former special forces soldier turned bodyguard said he panicked when two cars started following his convoy of four unarmoured vehicles near Ramadi, held by militants.

He said: “As he was probably about 20 feet behind our vehicle, all the windows started to drop and you could just see to the side as I looked, you could see the Arab headdress and you could only see the eye slits.

“As soon as I saw this, AK47s came out of every window of the car behind us … and they fired a burst.”



Ollie Ollerton was escorting VIPs from Jordan to Baghdad, capital of Iraq, when they were attacked

He added, “Now if you’ve heard an AK47 it’s pretty intimidating, but when you hear four it’s like a hell of a band.

He told the YouTube podcast on Mulligan Brothers: “I actually fuck myself.

“And I fuck myself for more than one reason, and it’s just the fact that – when you’re in special forces, you’re invincible.

“I can call in naval fire at sea for help – I can call in an air strike.

“And at the time, I was setting there thinking, ‘I have no one. I have absolutely no one … it was all up to me.'”

He said he was so overwhelmed that he started to freeze, but quickly regained his composure.



SAS: Who Dares Wins star Ollie Ollerton
The 50-year-old said he was so ‘overwhelmed’ he started to freeze

“I knew they were trying to get us to stop on the side of the road,” Ollerton said. “We had heard about these attacks before. They put them on the side of the road, they kill everyone, take all their things, take all their money.

“ABC News had photo equipment and wads of cash.”

Thinking on his feet, Ollerton, whose car was in the back of the convoy, made the “instant decision” to “aggressively” move his vehicle into the middle of the three-lane freeway.

Once the rebel car was beside his own, he increased his speed to “limp” the vehicle between his own and the convoy in front of him.

As he drove and held an MP5 Kurz machine gun – typically used by the SAS – in his lap, Ollerton turned to the rebel vehicle.



Ollerton (right) with former SAS: Who Dare Wins co-stars Jason Fox, Colin Maclachlan, Ant Middleton and Steve Parmenter
Ollerton (right) with former SAS: Who Dare Wins co-stars Jason Fox, Colin Maclachlan, Ant Middleton and Steve Parmenter

“I saw this young boy,” he said. “I could tell he was young because I could see his eyes. And he was wearing a headdress and his AK47 was slowly coming down to me, but there was a moment when I connected with his eyes. never his eyes.

“I’ve had scrapes before, but I’ve never been close enough to touch someone before I have to do what I need to do. And I really didn’t want to do it.

“And at that point, unfortunately for him, his AK47 was falling on my head – just like the guy behind it. And it was do or die.

“At that point, I gave the order to open fire.”

Ollerton said as soon as he made the decision to attack he raised his gun and opened fire through a closed car window as he drove at 87 mph.



Matthew 'Ollie' Ollerton
The former special forces member also revealed he planned to be attacked to save jobs

“It was a mental moment,” he said. “Bullets rained on their vehicle, which immediately forced them to stop.”

He added: “We looked in the rearview mirror and the car had headed for the median with all the smoke coming out of the hood.

Surprisingly, the attack was exactly what Ollerton wanted.

He had meticulously plotted to be attacked to save jobs after his employer – U.S. outlet ABC News – threatened to cut his security budget at the start of the Iraq war in 2003.

Fearing for his future and the livelihoods of his colleagues, he hatched a daring plot to be attacked on purpose, hoping it would prove his team’s worth.



Ollerton (left) at the GQ Car Awards in 2019
Ollerton (left) at the GQ Car Awards in 2019

“I had given up everything for this job. We had all done it,” he said. “And we are all making decent money for once in our life. Lots of money.

“For me, the idea of ​​this ending was not something I could conceive of.”

He added: “I just sat there thinking ‘what kind of events would influence his decision to reduce security?

“And that basically implied that we attacked each other.”

Ollerton decided to cross the Iraqi no-go zones of Fallujah and Ramadi to attract militants to attack.

After about 10 hours of the gigantic 14 hour journey, his plan worked. The two cars started to follow them.



Ollerton puts Daily Star reporter Hannah Brit to the test on SAS: Who Dares Wins endurance course
Ollerton puts Daily Star reporter Hannah Brit to the test on SAS: Who Dares Wins endurance course

As they walked away from the shooting, Ollerton said he hoped his plan worked.

“I remember looking up as we were driving at high speed,” he said. “All you’ve got is ringing in your ears from the loud bangs and stuff in the vehicle.

“I remember looking in front of the vehicle impatiently and there’s the chief of ABC – who came to assess the need for safety – looking out the back of the vehicle – just watching – and j ‘thought’ it’s done the job. ‘”

As a result of his actions, Ollerton and his number two, called only “Dave”, were greeted as heroes and a champagne upon their arrival in Baghdad.

In addition, ABC News signed a new two-year contract the same day.

Watch the full interview here.


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