Iran’s Iraq Strategy

BY Herschel Smith
13 years, 1 month ago

Deadly and sinister IED technology perfected by Hezbollah with the help of Iran has made its way into Iraq, with the sole purpose, together with the presence of IRGC forces, of the destabilization of Iraq.  Iran sees itself at the center of a new Middle East Caliphate when U.S. troops depart. 

As I have discussed in previous posts, Iran has IRGC troops in Iraq, and has provided IED technology to Iraqi insurgents.  The most recent development in ordnance type and application in Iraq comes in the form of Hizbollah technology.

A multi-charged roadside bomb, developed by Hizbollah in Lebanon, is being used against British and American soldiers by Iraqi insurgents linked to Iran, according to military intelligence sources.

The device consists of an array of up to five armour-piercing “explosively formed projectiles” or EFPs, also known as shaped charges. They are fired at different angles at coalition vehicles, resulting in almost certain death for at least some of the soldiers inside.

The bombs are easier for insurgents to use because, unlike single EFP devices, they do not need to be carefully aimed and so can be planted beside a road within a few seconds. Their killing potential is also enhanced because more than one EFP is likely to hit a single vehicle.

Some have been painted to look like concrete blocks – a modification of a tactic used by Iranian-backed Hizbollah, which hollowed out imitation rocks, bought in Beirut garden centres, to conceal bombs targeting Israeli vehicles.

A senior defence source said: “There are clear signs of Iran’s sinister hand, and through that, Hizbollah, in this development.”

A Pentagon document obtained by The Sunday Telegraph describes the devices as “well manufactured by experienced bomb makers” and “pioneered by Lebanese Hizbollah”. It adds: “The United Kingdom has accused Iran of providing these devices to insurgents in Iraq.”

Triggered when an infra-red beam is broken, the projectiles are capable of penetrating the armour of 60-ton Abrams tanks. Warrior armoured vehicles and Land Rovers, used by British forces in southern Iraq, offer almost no protection against them.

In February, John Negroponte, America’s director of national intelligence, blamed the Iranian government for the spread of such weapons throughout Iraq.

He told a United States Senate committee: “Teheran is responsible for at least some of the increasing lethality of anti-coalition attacks in 2005, by providing Shia militants with the capability to build IEDs [Improvised Explosive Devices] with explosively formed projectiles, similar to those developed by Iran and Lebanese Hizbollah.”

Coalition forces recently intercepted an infra-red EFP device being transported into Iraq across the Shatt al-Arab waterway from Iran.

Courtesy of the Telegraph, this picture below offers a primer on the devices.

 

But even as deadly as this technology is to U.S. troops, to see this in the aggregate is to fail to grasp the larger Iran strategy for Iraq.  Iran’s strategy is twofold, and it is dangerous to misunderstand their intentions or underestimate their willingness to go forward with their plans.

The first prong in the Iran strategy involves retaliatory strikes and armed conflict in Iraq proper should the U.S. use military force to secure or destroy nuclear facilities in Iran.  The Washington Post a couple of months ago reported on Iran’s Iraq strategy:

The most likely theater of operations in the initial stages of a U.S.-Iranian conflict, however, would be next door — in Iraq. Since the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime, Iran has methodically built and strengthened its military, political and religious influence in Iraq. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has extensively infiltrated Iraq’s Ministry of the Interior and police force, both mainstays of Shiite power. The hundreds of Iranian mullahs and businessmen who have slipped across the border have a commanding presence in southern Iraq’s commercial and religious sectors.

[ … ]

Iran’s paramilitary and intelligence buildup in Iraq would put some members of the “coalition of the willing” to shame. Over the past three years, Tehran has deployed to Iraq a large number of the Revolutionary Guard’s Qods Force — a highly professional force specializing in assassinations and bombings — as well as officers from the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security and representatives of Lebanese Hezbollah.

[ … ]

Iranian personnel have established safe houses throughout southern Iraq. They monitor the movement of coalition forces, tend weapons caches, facilitate cross-border travel of clerics, smuggle munitions into Iraq and recruit individuals as intelligence sources. Presumably, Tehran has recruited networks within U.S. military bases and civilian compounds that could be activated on short notice. Iran is also believed by regional intelligence agencies to have armed and trained as many as 40,000 Iraqis to prevent an unlikely rollback of Shiite control.

In my post Iran Muscles in on Iraq, I said:

With close enough cooperation, enough largesse spread around by Iran, and enough meddling in the affairs of Iraq, the hope apparently is that Iraq would become more like Iran, a place hostile to Western influences and militant against Western values.

Iran is not for a single second interested in stability in Iraq.  Iran is interested in a world Caliphate, and Iraq is less seen as a stumbling block to that end and more and more seen as another pawn to use to that end.

In a remarkably similar assessment, the Strategy Page about the same time reported:

Al Maliki is trying to convince the Iranians to stop supporting (with money, weapons and technical advisors) radical Shia militias in Iraq. The purpose of this support is to prepare these radical Iraqi groups to stage a coup and take over the Iraqi government. Iraq would then be turned into an Islamic republic, like Iran. This kind of takeover worked in Iran because it was done in the middle of a war with Iraq (in the 1980s), a war begun by Saddam Hussein, who thought he could rush in and grab some Iranian oil fields while Iran was distracted by its rebellion against the Iranian monarchy. The Iranian religious radicals have held on to power since, despite only having the support of a minority of the population, by establishing a police state. Most of the cops are Islamic radicals out to impose proper Islamic lifestyles on all Iranians. Democracy is not considered properly Islamic, nor are a lot of things from the West, including movies and accurate news. But the Iraqis, al Maliki is apparently trying to convince the Iranians, are different. While about 30 percent of the Iranian population supports the religious dictatorship, the percentage is lower in Iraq, and the pro-democracy crowd is armed and willing to fight. The Iranians believe that, as soon as the U.S. troops leave, the Iraqi Islamic radical militias can make their move and, in effect, unite Iran and Iraq as a Shia axis for Islamic radicalism that will conquer the world for the Shia brand of Islam.

And this is the second prong of the Iran strategy.  The first prong is proximate and has immediate consequences, i.e., the deaths of U.S. troops and the destabilization of Iraq.  The second prong is more theoretical but just as dangerous.  Iran wants to control the Middle East, and sees itself at the center of a new Caliphate.  Iraq is a pawn in the strategy to begin this process.

The U.S. will not win in Iraq until Iran is driven out entirely.  Furthermore, driving Iran out of Iraq will not address the possibility of a nuclear Iran.

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You are currently reading "Iran’s Iraq Strategy", entry #711 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Iran,Iraq,War & Warfare and was published September 15th, 2006 by Herschel Smith.

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