2. Restructuring militant forces in Iraq
In late February a Quds Force commander by the name of Haj Abbas was sent to Iraq with a mission of restructuring militant forces linked to the Asaeb and other groups. These measures were carried out to prepare them for the war in al-Anbar. In his first steps he began restructuring the Asaeb al-Haq with completely new ranks and files, and also recruiting fresh members. The delayed paychecks of Asayeb members, some not paid for 3 months, were all provided for. This group once again launched its operations and their organized ranks were prepared to take part in the al-Anbar war.
Similar measures were carried out with the Katayeb Hezbollah and they too prepared their forces for the al-Anbar war.
In this restructuring these militants were no longer sent to Iran to receive training to be then dispatched to Syria. In fact, all these forces that were prepared were either assigned to the al-Anbar war or filed into new battalions in their own provinces, such as Diyala, to confront the mayhem conditions on the ground.
3. Assigning specific front to militant groups
As this trend continued and to practice a more active use of militant forces, the last solution agreed upon by the Quds Force in coordination with Maliki’s commanders in the al-Anbar war was to specify a certain front to each of the militant forces. This was aimed at having these forces getting involved in a more focused manner in the al-Anbar war. To this end:
- The regions of Garma to Zeidan were assigned to Asaeb al-Haq. The Baghdad beltway, meaning from Taremiye to Abu Ghareib, was also this group’s responsibility.
- The Fallujah region and cities around were assigned to Katayeb Hezbollah. The Baghdad beltway, from areas south of the airport to Yusefiye, was assigned to this group.
- Badr forces were stationed west of Fallujah and the city of Ramadi.
4. Forming Baghdad beltway protection division
Another step taken by the Quds Force was forming a division of militant forces to protect the Baghdad beltway stretching from Taremiya to Mada’en west of Baghdad to have these forces protect the capital against any attack.
5. Developments in militants’ activities after the fall of Mosul
- Following the disintegration of the Iraqi army after the attacks staged by tribal forces and ISIS in Mosul, Nouri al-Maliki called on the Iranian regime on 10 June 2014 to provide urgent assistance. On this very day a team of Quds Force commanders and experts entered Iraq to evaluate the situation on the ground and the crisis. They met with senior Maliki government officials and military commanders in Baghdad, returning to Iran two days later and beginning to plan how to have the Quds Force enter this conflict and support Maliki’s army.
- With advances made by the tribal forces and major defeats suffered by Iraqi forces, Qassem Suleimani himself rushed to Iraq and stationed in Baghdad with a number of Quds Force commanders and experts. He ordered Quds Force affiliated militants including Asaeb al-Haq, Katayeb Hezbollah and Badr units to restructure their forces as soon as possible and dispatch them to the provinces liberated by Sunni resistance forces. The Quds Force returned retired Badr commander into action to organize new battalions – resembling those in Iran’s paramilitary Bassij units – and all its foot soldiers were agents of the Iranian regime. They had lived back in Iran for many years, including Hadi al-Ameri and Abu Mahdi Mohandes.
- The Quds Force also ordered 9th Badr Corps commander Hadi al-Ameri to immediately hold a meeting with his affiliated sheikhs and begin recruiting a new special Badr ‘bassij’ force. Al-Ameri held this session in the Badr headquarters in Baghdad’s Jaderiya region, and then began dispatching Badr forces along with Asaeb and Katayeb units to join branches of remaining forces of Maliki’s army, and heading to Diyala Province to massacre the locals.
- The Quds Force also began sending WMD missiles to equip its armed militants and place at their disposal IRGC-made missiles to use in barrages against civilians in the liberated provinces.