Monday, 29 June 2015

Quds Force in Iraq – Part 1

On 25 January 2014 a number of Quds Force advisors, experts in guerrilla and urban warfare, came to Iraq to provide Iraqi forces experience in street fighting, similar to Syria. They worked closely with Ali Gheidan and Fazel Barvari, commander of the “Golden Division” (dubbed the “Filthy Division” by US forces when in Iraq), training and providing their experience gained from Iran and Syria during the past few years. Their first suggestion was launching a force similar to Iran’s state-run Bassij paramilitary units using militant groups, emphasizing that in Syria they launched the civil defense force because the army is a classic force that can only fight foreign wars. However, unconventional wars that follow no rules and have a guerrilla nature demand a response of their own type, adding the army is of no use in such circumstances. They once again emphasized on fighting such wars by launching small guerilla units.

Following major defeats suffered by organized army and police belonging to the government of former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki in their first attack on urban areas in al-Anbar Province, inflicting a major blow to their spirits necessary for urban warfare, the Quds Force called on its associated militant groups including the Asaeb al-Haq, Katayeb Hezbollah and the Badr Organization to help the army and Maliki’s organized forces in Anbar. The first obligation defined for these militants was to mix with Maliki’s forces and instigate spirits, taking part in intelligence and military affairs. The first groups of such forces were used in areas of Ramadi and the town of Garme.

To make sure these forces would have adequate functionality, the Quds Force began 15-day training courses of urban warfare in its own bases back in Iran for these forces (the same policy it pursued for Syria).

In late February 2014 a Quds Force commander by the name of Haj Abbas visited Iraq, and his main responsibility was to reorganize the militant forces of Asaeb and other groups in preparation for a more active participation in the Anbar war. In his first measures he began reorganizing the Asaeb group with a new rank and file system, and also launched a new recruiting program for this group. The salaries of these members, some not paid for three months, were all provided. Combat operations by this group were launched once again and its units were all being prepared for the war in Anbar. The same measures were carried out for Katayeb Hezbollah. In this period of reorganization, the members were no longer sent to Iran for training and dispatch to Syria. In fact all the forces that were prepared were either organized for the Anbar front, or filed into new battalions in their provinces, such as Diyala, to quell the crumbling situation on the ground.

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