Another devious method adopted by the Quds Force to increase its influence and impose its hegemony in Iraq is using various leverages to train Shiite militants and Popular Mobilization Force troops. To reach these objectives the Revolutionary Guards has according to specific planning and defined links began to expand its network of influence.Considering the incompetence seen in the PMF in battle, and the fact that the high number of casualties suffered by their commanders and troops caught their senior officers completely off guard, to compensate for these losses Shiite militant commanders are on the verge of providing younger forces, including high school students in the frontlines. This mirrors the methods used by IRGC commanders during the Iran-Iraq War back in the 1980s when they dispatched teenagers to the battlefields as “disposable” soldiers just to clear mind fields with “human waves”.
1. Shiite militant commanders practically paved the path for the Quds Force by claiming to establish new centers. Recently amongst all the hierarchy of the education management, including teachers and students, Shiite militants have especially in Iraq’s southern provinces began recruiting new forces and providing training in all schools and educational centers. 9th Badr leaders Hadi al-Ameri and Abu Mahdi al-Mohandess have through such measures sought to strengthen the PMF and promised the new recruits high salaries and pensions (all lies) to recruit as many students in various ages to provide for their shortage of troops.
2. The plan to establish PMF units - very similar to the paramilitary ‘Bassij’ forces in Iran that follow orders from Khamenei – is now becoming an official project to recruit forces for the ranks and files of Shiite militants. The project to campaign high school students and soon-to-be-clerics in various training and religious centers all depict the same methods used by forces loyal to the supreme leader in Iran. In Iraq they are currently being followed up by the Ministry of Interior and the Badr Organization.
3. The scope of this project, which has recently expanded under the pretext of a decree issued by the senior Shiite clergy, clearly shows how dire the status of Shiite militant forces have become and they are now forced to resort to compensating their forces with youths and high school students. In this regard in Ziqar Province the commander of Operation Rafidein in the city of Nosseriya, an individual by the name of Jamil Shemeri – known for his horrific sectarian crimes in Diyala Province – has registered hundreds of teenage boys in a base, intends to have them enter military training and become PMF members in the near future. These teenagers will receive the necessary tactical training under the supervision of IRGC instructors, and they will be used as cannon fodders to break ISIS defense lines.
4. Under the pretext that they are linked to the Prime Minister, PMF commanders have ordered the Minister of Education in Baghdad and other provinces on the government’s behalf about the military training the teenagers must undergo. Therefore, they are taking advantage of all training assets, such as schools for training grounds and recruiting teenagers and … for their own devious purposes. As a result, the Ministry of Education has turned into an organ used by the militants to recruit new members.
5. This project, recruiting forces for the PMF, has led to further administrative and financial corruption on a massive scale. The budget necessary for the schools, food supplies, hygiene and the infrastructure of schools and universities, has practically fallen into the hands of Shiite commanders and they are pocketing a large profit through this entire trend. For example, a budget allocated by the government for school hygiene purposes was used to launch the PMF high school units. In most of the southern provinces this same official budget was spent on purchasing weapons, equipment and military uniforms. This money was also used for widespread propaganda amongst students to lure them into registering in PMF units.