Saturday, 25 July 2015

Quds Force Presence in Iraq – Part Three

In late March 2014 Qassem Suleimani was directly supervising and advancing Quds Force measures in Iraq in the Anbar warfront. Later on he sent his deputy, Ismaeel Gha’ani Akbar-nezhad, to Iraq and Anbar to coordinate the latest war conditions in Fallujah and evaluate with Iraq commanders why the war had not progressed. He was also charged to analyze how the fighting could be stretched into the city of Fallujah and provide a victory for Maliki in his crackdown against the people of Anbar Province. To this end the Quds Force sought to pursue the same methods used in Syria to form, as it claimed, the Iraqi Revolutionary Guards with the ranks and files of its militia forces. Tehran also sought to stabilize its hegemonic role over Maliki’s forces and all of Iraq as a result.

From late October, meaning before the elections process, the crisis in Iraq entered a new stage altogether. Therefore, Quds Force, along with Masjedi and Sahroudi, entered Iraq to keep a close eye on developments on the ground. As a result Suleimani called for the formation of a 5,000-man strong force to protect areas around Baghdad. This unit included those who had fought in the Syria war. However, the developments were so fast that in less than a month all equations changed on the ground and in addition to protecting Baghdad, air attacks on tribal forces in liberated provinces were also placed on the agenda.
In the early days when various northern provinces being liberated, tribal resistance forces played a major role and Salahadin and Anbar provinces were under their control, with ISIS being present only in Mosul.
In mid-May of 2014 a group led by Quds Force deputy commander Akbar-nezhad visited Iraq to evaluate the war fronts in this country.
On June 10th, 2014 Nouri al-Maliki asked for UN and European Union support. Simultaneously, al-Maliki asked the Iranian regime to place the last line of defenses protecting Baghdad under IRGC command. On this very day a Quds Force team entered Iraq to assess the situation, and returned to Tehran on June 12th after their work was finalized they. This team declared Iraq was in a very dire crisis and said the IRGC must dispatch its forces to prevent Maliki’s imminent downfall. Arrangements were made for this unit to take control over the last layer of defenses in Baghdad and Iraq’s sacred cities such as Karbala, Najaf and Samara.
In mid-June of 2014 it was made clear that 300 IRGC air personnel, 40 of which were pilots, were dispatched to Baghdad. Their mission was to train Iraqi forces and conduct air raids on positions belonging to tribal forces and ISIS in order to prevent their advances towards the capital.

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