Shia militias become Iran proxy forces in Iraq

Rowan Scarborough:
Iran has positioned thousands of loyal Iraqi Shiite militia fighters around Mosul with a strategic goal of creating long-lasting armies inside Iraq that can also deploy as an expeditionary force to Syria, Yemen and other contested regions, analysts say.

The Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah Brigades, Badr Organization and other groups fall under the Baghdad-approved umbrella group known as the Popular Mobilization Forces. These mostly Shiite groups — some moderate, some extremists — are distinct from but coordinate with the Iraqi regular army, police and counterterrorism units. The ultimate goal is the same: Evict the Sunni extremist group Islamic State from the country.

But the Iranian-backed groups, guided by on-the-ground advisers from the Revolutionary Guard Corps’ notorious Quds force, have regional goals as well. They are geared toward what the U.S. intelligence community sees as Tehran’s desire to dominate the region and blunt American influence.

The U.S. designated the Hezbollah group as a terrorist organization in 2009. It is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American service members during the first war in Iraq.

There are an estimated 80,000 Iraqi fighters under Iran’s direction. Many are now positioned west of Mosul, where there is heavy fighting as part of the month-old coalition’s campaign to free the last major urban area still in the clutches of the Islamic State.

Iran, Mr. Martin added, now has in place loyal Iraqi proxy leaders and a force that “is not under command and control of Iraqi government, is very cheap to maintain and has a modular aspect to it that Iran could use to deploy to other theaters that require manpower.”
There is much more.

This is another aspect of how Obama's retreat from Iraq has Iraq has made the entire region much more dangerous and his disastrous deal with Iran allows them to fund these operations.


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