Iran Busy Inside of Iraq

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 11 months ago

More from Wikileaks (courtesy of WSJ):

Leaked U.S. diplomatic cables provide new details on the U.S. assessment of how Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps has promoted Tehran’s influence in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

The demise of archenemy Saddam Hussein, with whom Tehran fought an eight-year war in the 1980s, presented the Iranians with an unprecedented opportunity, and they appear to have exploited it from Day One.

The leadership of the Qods Force—the Guards’ paramilitary and espionage arm—”took advantage of the vacuum” in the aftermath of the fall of Mr. Hussein’s regime to begin sending operatives into Iraq when “little attention was focused on Iran,” according to an April 2009 dispatch from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The cable was part of a trove of classified U.S. diplomatic communications made public this week by WikiLeaks.

Early priorities for the Iranian operatives included assassinating former Iraqi fighter pilots who flew sorties against Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, according to a December 2009 dispatch from Baghdad. As of the end of last year 180 pilots had been killed, according to the report.

But Iran’s broader goals have been the establishment of “an economically dependent and politically subservient Iraq” and the undermining of rivals, in part through paramilitary means, the cables suggest.

Iran’s ambassador to Iraq Hassan Danaie-Far denied in a recent interview that Iran was meddling in Iraq’s affairs or supporting militias.

Since 2003, Qods Force commander Brig. Gen. Qasim Soleimani has been “the point man directing the formulation and implementation” of the Iranian government’s Iraq policy “with authority second only” to the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to another dispatch from Baghdad dated November 2009.

Through his officers and “Iraqi proxies,” Gen. Soleimani “employs the full range of diplomatic, security, intelligence, and economic tools to influence allies and detractors in order to shape a more pro-Iran regime in Baghdad and the provinces,” according to the same dispatch.

Some Qods Force operatives have entered Iraq under the guise of charities or the Iranian Red Crescent—the Islamic version of the Red Cross—according to an October 2008 dispatch from America’s Iran Regional Presence Office based in the Gulf Arab emirate of Dubai.

The cable, which cites an “Iranian with detailed knowledge of the country’s Red Crescent” as a source, says the organization contracted companies affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards to build clinics in Baghdad and the predominantly Shiite cities of Basra, Hilla, Karbala and Najaf to the south. The clinics were used “for treatment but also as warehouses for military equipment or military bases if needed.”

Other Iranian operatives came in as diplomats, including some allegedly as senior as Tehran’s former ambassador to Iraq Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, who is described as “an associate” of the Qods Force in the November 2009 dispatch. His successor, Mr. Danaie-Far, was a naval commander in the Revolutionary Guards.

In addition to training, funding and arming Shiite militias in Iraq involved in attacking U.S. interests, Gen. Soleimani has overseen economic development assistance to Iraq and the promotion of bilateral trade that reached an annual level of almost $4 billion by the end of 2009. He also oversaw the furthering of Iranian “soft power” through activities such as the renovation of Iraq’s revered Shiite shrines by Revolutionary Guards-owned companies, according to several dispatches.

The Iranian commander also “enjoys longstanding close ties” with several top Iraqi officials such as President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, according to a dispatch from Baghdad.

The November 2009 cable says Iran hands out cash payments to “Iraqi surrogates,” which include some of the political parties currently in power. It says while exact figures are unknown, Tehran’s financial assistance is estimated in the cables at $100 million to $200 million a year, with an estimated $70 million going to the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) party, which was based in Iran before Mr. Hussein’s fall.

In one cable, U.S. diplomats in Baghdad say sensitivity by Iraqi leaders toward being seen as “Iranian lackeys” will ultimately constrain Iran’s influence in Iraq.

Even though both countries are majority Shiite Muslim, they embrace opposing clerical traditions. Iraq’s revered Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is Iranian-born but rejects Iran’s clerical rule.

One dispatch that followed a visit by U.S. diplomats to Mr. Sistani’s base in Najaf last year said the reclusive cleric personally prohibited the enrollment of Iranian students at seminaries in the city in order to prevent infiltration by the Revolutionary Guards.

Right.  Like Iranian meddling inside of Iraq is some sort of newly-discovered fact.  It was known years ago.  Take careful note.  I have been watching this man General Qassem Suleimani, and have specifically called for his assassination.  It would have been better for Iraq had this man been dead long ago.  Note also that I have more recently called for more assassinations of Iranians in key places within the Quds forces.

This follows a rich tradition here at The Captain’s Journal, where I called for the assassination of Moqtada al Sadr.  It’s simple.  Reverse executive order 12,333 prohibiting assassinations.  It’s way past time to wield this simple but effective tool.

Concerning the assassination of Iranian nuclear physicists which I applauded just recently, the New York Post has taken what I perceive to be a very significant step.  They have endorsed the same thing.

Who is killing the great nuclear scientists of Iran?

Who cares?

That is, as long as enough of them are offed to stymie development of a deliverable Iranian nuke.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he knows who’s behind the recent drive-by bombings of the scientists. He sees “the hand of the Zionist regime and Western governments” — by which he means Israel and the United States.

Maybe. (The answer will no doubt be in the next WikiLeaks dump.)

According to news reports, unidentified assailants riding motorcycles carried out two bombings in Tehran on Monday, attaching explosives to the scientists’ cars and detonating them remotely.

One attack killed Majid Shahriari, manager of a “major project” for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization and an expert in neutron transport — a key stage in the chain reactions behind nuclear weapons.

The other bomb seriously injured Fereydoon Abbasi, a senior Ministry of Defense scientist who’s said to work closely with the notorious Revolutionary Guard and reportedly is believed by Western intelligence to be a key figure in Iran’s drive to build nukes.

As one unnamed US official told the Times: “They’re [both] bad people, and the work they do is exactly what you need to design a bomb.”

Israel, of course, has been warning about an Iranian nuclear arsenal for some time now — and is believed to have been behind last summer’s Stuxnet computer-worm attack, which reportedly sent Iran’s nuclear centrifuges out of control.

If the US government has finally come to realize that a more hands-on approach is needed — and, as the latest WikiLeaks disclosures show, Washington is being pressed hard by a clearly terrified Arab world — that’s all to the good.

Not so significant for a Military Blogger.  Monumentally significant for a main stream news organization, even one which leans more conservative.  To the New York Post: welcome.  My position actually cost me readers (I know because of demands to remove e-mails from my auto-distribution).  I suspect that it will for you as well.  But I’m not in this to max out my readers.  I have a stake in what we do in this transnational insurgency in which we unfortunately find ourselves.  I suspect you feel that you do as well.



  • newscaper

    One of the under-discussed aspects of the the DoS dump by wikileaks is that it shows not just information kept hidden from abroad, but — much worse– *true* important information being deliberately held form the American people and policy makers.

    There is something to be said for turning a blind eye in order to keep the lid on, but THIS crap — lying about the real and continued existence of Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil’ and in particular the extent of Iran killing our soldiers and allies — borders on bureaucratic treason. Whether from an elitist concern for not inflaming the passions of the unwashed masses (us), or pure domestic political advantage (bury anything that undermines the liberal kumbaya narrative on foreign policy.

    It certainly confirms suspicions about the NIE used to cut Bush’s feet out form under him in dealing with the Iranians more firmly a few years ago.

  • Tao Jones

    Tally ho.

  • Black Sabbath

    Why would we get busy inside Iran when we have a President who’s building a new army of IRS agents under Obamacare (17,000) new agents to go after American citizens. And who goes after TEA Party members. And who lets DHS grant themselves power at night on a holiday weekend to shut down websites that have nothing to do with homeland security. And to pull the FBI files on any Republicans who are running for President in 2012. And who constantly tries to shut down opposition to Liberal messaging on radio and TV by calling for the Fairness Doctrine? Meanwhile, we face a record death toll in Afghanistan, Iraq drifts along with no real end in sight, and the government sits and waits for Wikileaks to make the first move more than once – and only after thousands of state secrets are released, does the Obama administration stand up and yell, “Somebody needs to do something!”
    It’s simple: This administration hates the United States, hates the military, hates God, freedom, Democracy, Capitalism, women, Jews, Christians, Catholics, and most of all, the unborn.

  • TF6S

    Bravo Herschel. Posts like this are what keep me coming back every day. In particular, it is the way that you come to your conclusion (which, in this case, I completely agree with you). The world is a crazy place and the bad guys that have a direct hand in killing our boys should not be given artificial shelter of any kind. It is time to remove it and go after these guys.

  • warlord

    Mr. Smith, I agree on your position regarding targeted asassination. We got away
    from that type of politics after the wave of assassinations of our nations leaders
    because it can be revisited upon us, ie;Kennedy/Castro. However in the current world climate I believe it is time to revisit this tactic as a reasonable means of
    regime change. Let’s face it, there is evil afoot in the world that cannot be addressed by diplomacy alone. Hezbollah,Hamas,the Taliban, and others who seek
    the destruction of the west and their governments. Targeted asassination, is a
    tactic to be used not only by Israel, but by all who seek freedom and a world
    without evil.

  • RRK

    Our enemies are waging 4 generation warfare against us it is time for us to do the same to them. Military, politcal campaigns, economics, and media all used at the same time to tie up, degrade, and slowly defeat an enemy. In saying this I do not think the current administration and military leadership is prepared to wage this type of war. Here is a chance to use Hezbollah/Iran tactics against them by using third party proxies to target Iranian scientists, IRGC and Qods force commanders and even foot soldiers. We could probably get the Gulf states to fund it as it serves their interests. Also if I remember correctly several of the IRGC and other Iranians have been designated terrorists making them viable targets.

  • Sean

    We in the U.S., and the West in general, do not have what it takes to fight strategically in the Middle East. And to be honest, we’d have to really degrade the character of our nation to do so.

    The sooner we realize our turn of the millenium naivete, learn from it, and leave the neanderthals to their own devices, the better.

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    Sean,

    Maybe you’re right about the West’s refusal to understand the nature of the thing in which we are engaged.

    Where I part company with you is that engaging the Iranian’s on their own terms would “degrade the character of our nation.”

    Why? Is it somehow degrading to engage in war? If so, how? Is it degrading to engage in 4th gen warfare in our own defense? If so, how and why?

    If it’s okay to engage in self defense, then why is it inappropriate to engage in that same self defense in a different fashion in order to match the threat?

    You are talking as if the way in which we do the engaging is more important than the engagement itself.

    I recommend that you read:

    Professor Darrell Cole, Good Wars.

    http://www.sullivan-county.com/news/mine/good_wars.htm

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You are currently reading "Iran Busy Inside of Iraq", entry #5814 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Assassinations,General Suleimani,Iran,Iraq,Moqtada al Sadr and was published December 2nd, 2010 by Herschel Smith.

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