Thursday, November 13, 2014

"They say Leave Iraq to us"

Iraqi officials/politicians to Reuters: Iran involvement is deep/extensive, Shia militias will be hard to send home after ISIS is gone

# Reuters
The fighters of Iraq who answer to Iran () {

Date = Nov 12, 2014


The next morning, Shi'ite and peshmerga fighters went house-to-house to check IS had cleared out. They came across an IS fighter hiding beneath a blanket. The man shot and killed one peshmerga and detonated a suicide belt, injuring several others.

Around midday, the burned and mangled body of the IS fighter was lying in the sun when a group of Shi'ite fighters approached. A Reuters team saw one Shi'ite fighter behead the corpse with a large knife while a handful of fighters filmed with their phones. The dead fighter's head was mounted on a knife, and one Shi'ite fighter shouted, "This is revenge for our martyrs!"

The Shi'ite fighters put the head in a sack and took it away with them.


The main body funding, arming, and training the Shi'ite militias is Iran's Quds Force. The model it uses is Hezbollah in Lebanon...

Coordinating the three is Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, who, at least until the IS victories in Iraq this summer, had gained a reputation as one of the region's most effective military leaders...

"Soleimani is an operational leader. He's not a man working in an office. He goes to the front to inspect the troops and see the fighting," said one current senior Iraqi official. "His chain of command is only the Supreme Leader. He needs money, gets money. Needs munitions, gets munitions. Needs materiel, gets materiel."


Former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, a secular Shi'ite who left office in 2005, told Reuters that "Iran is interfering in Iraq. Foreign forces are not welcome here. And militias controlled by foreign powers are not welcome also."

Iraq's Shi'ite militias have certainly fueled sectarian violence. In the past few months they have taken revenge on Sunnis thought to be sympathetic to IS, burned homes and threatened to stop Sunnis returning to their towns. Shi'ite fighters have kidnapped or killed civilians, say Sunni family members.

"The militias are a problem," said Askari, the former Maliki adviser. "What do you say after Islamic State ends? Thank you very much and go home?"


Tehran's high profile contrasts sharply with Washington's. Both Iran and the United States are preparing for a long battle against IS. But Iraqi officials say the two take very different views of Iraq.

"The American approach is to leave Iraq to the Iraqis," said Sami al-Askari, a former member of Iraq's parliament and one-time senior adviser to former prime minister Nuri al-Maliki. "The Iranians don't say leave Iraq to the Iraqis. They say leave Iraq to us."


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