In Arab media I came across a report that gained my attention: Quds Force chief Qassem Suleimani gave green light for abduction of Turk workers in Baghdad
Following the abduction of 18 Turk workers, the main question was who profited from this and what goal were they pursuing?
The fact that was quite obvious in the first glance at this issue was that this is was carried out against the interests of Iraqi Prime Minister Dr. Haider al-Abadi and his government. The objective was aimed at carrying out measures to prevent al-Abadi from continuing with his reforms.
The militant group that conducted this operation was none other than Katayeb Hezbollah, known to be directly under the control of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Quds Force.
A group called “Death Squads” assumed responsibility and posted a video clip of the hostages and announced its demands, the most important of which stopping armed individuals flooding into Iraq form Turkey, ending the export of Kurdistan oil transferred through Turkey, ordering the Fatah Army in Syria (opposing Assad) to end their siege on the towns of Kafariya, Fo’e, Nabal and al-Zahra where Assad’s forces are stationed.
One the second day of this abduction, one of the hostages was able to use his mobile phone and inform the Turkish Embassy in Iraq about their whereabouts. Subsequently, Turkish security forces, along with the US Embassy, informed the Iraqi government in this regard. Iraqi Army forces were ordered to the scene close to where the hostages were held and attacked the Hezbollah militants’ base, facing stiff resistance from their part. These clashes left 1 soldier killed, 3 others injured and 15 members of the Iraqi security forces captured by the militants. Furthermore, all of their equipment and vehicles were captured by the Hezbollah militants.
Considering the fact that Hezbollah elements are the main members of the Quds Force in Iraq, and that they have members in the Iraqi government, they began negotiating with Baghdad and their members in the government entered the base for the search. As a result, they said none of the hostages were there and closed the case entirely.
This clearly shows the weakness of the al-Abadi government in the face of these militant groups, and one comes to realize that the militant groups have the last say in such issues, and al-Abadi has no control over them. Due to political and security reasons Iraqi security forces have no will to attack areas belonging to militants. The significant issue is that it is quite obvious that the abduction of Turk workers was carried out by Katayeb Hezbollah and the al-Abadi government is very well informed about this. Hezbollah used the name “Death Squads” in assuming responsibility for this measure in order to cover up their tracks. This is not far from the truth because all Shiite militias associated to the Quds Force have units called “Death Squads” who carry out their assassinations. This group is the “Death Squad” belonging to Katayeb Hezbollah.
The very important issue is that the demands raised by these militants in the face of the hostages is the same demands raised by Iran, and it appears that it was completely dictated by Qassem Suleimani. Iran is on one hand seeking to set the scores with Turkey, and on the other hand it is giving a warning to al-Abadi to not go too far, too fast.
Quds Force-associated militia groups in Baghdad have numerous overt bases and they roam around the city freely in armed convoys of bullet-proof vehicles they have received from the government. No security units are permitted to stop their vehicles. Recent speeches made by al-Abadi clearly depict the security situation in Baghdad and the crimes committed by the Shiite militant groups associated to the Quds Force. Below is one example of a speech made by al-Abadi in a gathering of Baghdad Operations Command commanders:
“There are those who seek to weaken the government in order to bribe the citizens and have control over them. However, we will not allow any such measures, for them to do anything they wish, and we will launch wars against them. There are those who have stood against the government. We have orders to take action against these cases as terrorist because any criminal is the enemy of the government and citizens,” he said.
Al-Abadi was referring to the Turk workers abducted in Baghdad, and also the assassinations and abductions in the Iraqi capital that have risen significantly.
The only solution for Iraq to exit such a paradox is to evict Iran and its militia groups from Iraq. One must say to Mr. al-Abadi to take action with bravery and the support he enjoys from the demonstrators. Otherwise, the status quo will change and the Iraqi people will further suffer in this regard.