Yesterday the US State Department issued its annual report evaluating terrorist threats across the globe in which it described Iran as the main sponsor of terrorism. A segment of this report reads:
ISIL and AQ were not the only serious threats that confronted the United States and its allies. Iran continued to sponsor terrorist groups around the world, principally through its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, the IRGC-QF – Quds. These groups included Lebanese Hizballah, several Iraqi Shia militant groups, Hamas, and the Palestine-Islamic Jihad.
One of the countries that is currently targeted by IRGC Quds Force terrorism is Iraq. This country plays a vital role for Iran and the government that comes to power in Baghdad must be under Tehran’s influence, as the ayatollahs consider this a red line. According to remarks made by military commanders, Iran has entrenched its forces in Iraq and Syria to not be forced to fight on its own turf in Tehran.
Iran invested big in Iraq during the 8 years of former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki’s tenure in this country. Tehran was able to form, organize and arm militant groups leveling the Iraqi army. Iran also played the main role in weakening the Iraqi army by eliminating its competent commanders and having Maliki appoint his inner circle in such sensitive posts.
The Iraqi Army, trained for over 8 years by US forces in all the laws of war and equipped with American-made arsenal, quickly dissolved and crumbed in Mosul in 2014 when faced with an attack by 400 ISIS members. (ISIS has announced the number of forces used to attack Mosul as 400). In this northern Iraqi city, being the second largest in this country, two army divisions and a complete army of police were stationed, numbering at around 15 to 20,000 personnel.
Following the crumble of the army in Iraq, militants gained the main role in the fight against ISIS. For its associated militants the Quds Force turned the fight against ISIS into a fight against Sunnis, advocating that the only method to fight against ISIS is through ethnic and religious cleansing in Iraq’s provinces.
Militias in Iraq are financially supported and armed completely by the Quds Force, turning them into proxy groups of foot soldiers for Tehran. The crimes committed by these groups against locals in Sunni provinces such as Diyala, Salahadin and Baghdad are much, much more horrific than what ISIS has carried out in these areas. Therefore, one can reach this conclusion that the State Department report on terrorist threats has pinpointed the correct subject: Quds Force-backed militants are as dangerous as ISIS and al-Qaeda, and I am saying that these militias supported by the Quds Force are actually much more dangerous than ISIS and al-Qaeda. Action must be taken against them and the epicenter of terrorism must be targeted in Tehran.