Friday, 31 July 2015

New Quds Force initiative in Iraq

1. The Quds Force was stopped in the Tikrit operations before the city gates and witnessed heavy casualties suffered by its affiliated militants and Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). This defeat forced Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to call on Washington to enter the scene and finalize the battle. Subsequently the US conditioned any action to Revolutionary Guards forces evacuating Iraq, forcing the Iranian regime to pull out its combat troops taking part in the Tikrit battle and have them returned to Iran. Therefore, only its artillery and missile units were maintained and strengthened in Iraq.
2. In response the Quds Force began strengthening and dispatching more advisers and special forces under the pretext of protecting sensitive and religious sites in Iraq. Through these measures, providing training and structuring the ranks and files of the militants and PMF, Tehran intended to fill in the gap left by the absence of its combat forces.
3. On the other hand, following the deteriorating security situation in Syria and Bashar Assad suffering a series of setbacks in various provinces across the country, the Quds Force sought to reinforce Assad strops and therefore it dispatched a large number of its militants to Syria. Reports indicate 5,000 of these foot soldiers and previously retired 9th Badr personnel were sent to literally save Bashar Assad. Furthermore, the Quds Force specified a salary for its associated militant forces in this very reason. This had a major impact on the militants’ battles against ISIS back in Iraq.
4. Following the defeat in Tikrit the Quds Force sought to launch the al-Anbar attacks to rid the disgrace of the Tikrit defeat. However, the US had other plans of its own and was seeking to train and arm tribes for the al-Anbar liberation operation. Therefore, the Quds Force and its militant forces circumvented and started the al-Anbar attack in mid-July by sending its militant and various army and police units to the front lines. In the very first day of this campaign these forces suffered a major defeat and according to news reports hundreds of them were killed in the past month, all members of the militant and PMF units. This forced the Quds Force to stop the entire attack altogether.
5. The Tikrit scenario has now been repeated in al-Anbar and this time, according to one news report, al-Abadi requested General Martin Dempsey, Chairmen of US Joint Chiefs of Staff to visit Iraq without prior notice and evaluate the defeat suffered in al-Anbar. Dempsey literally ordered al-Abadi to stop the al-Anbar operation and set specific conditions for the militants and PMF to evacuate al-Anbar, arm the trained tribes and have them take part in the operations alongside army and police forces.
6. Quds Force chief Qassem Suleimani and a team of Quds Force advisors entered Iraq for the al-Anbar operation, and an IRGC artillery unit was stationed in the Nadhem Tharthar region to provide back for the militants’ attacks.

7. All in all it appears that following the pressures imposed by the US on the Iraqi government to have IRGC combat units exit Iraq, the Quds Force has launched a new plan in this country to use local forces, meaning instead of bringing IRGC combat forces to Iraq it has now started using its affiliated militants and PMF to organize the necessary combat units. Tehran is also using IRGC advisors and experts to train and organize these forces.

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