View Full Version : Iran and Iraq

12-03-2005, 12:31 AM
Here's a couple of interesting papers published recently on the nature of Iran's influence in Iraq:

From CRS, 22 May 07: Iran's Influence in Iraq (http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/85622.pdf)

From USIP: Iran and Iraq: The Shia Connection, Soft Power, and the Nuclear Factor (http://www.usip.org/pubs/specialreports/sr156.pdf)

...then, a for another viewpoint, this one from the ICG published back in March: Iran in Iraq: How Much Influence? (http://www.iraqfoundation.org/reports/pol/2005/38_iran_in_iraq_how_much_influence.pdf)

01-23-2007, 05:11 PM
Until the financial and tactical contributions from Iran are seriously curtailed, nothing changes on the ground in Iraq despite more troops and Pretereus' ability. NI had no counterpart anywhere near the significance and equivilance that Iran is to the Iraqi insurgents and that's the critical difference in the two theatres of operation.

01-23-2007, 05:37 PM
I've heard lots of blather about Iran and the insurgency, but I'd like to see a lot more specifics and concrete evidence before assigning them primary blame for our current situation in Iraq.

For instance, which of the virulently anti-Shia Sunni insurgent groups is taking money and explosives from Iran? Where (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/03/AR2006100301577_pf.html)are (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iraniraq23jan23,0,1820495,print.story?coll=la-home-headlines)the captured documents, weapons, explosives, etc., especially in the Sunni areas where our troops are taking the most casualties?

OTOH, I do see plenty of evidence that the Iranians have plenty of swing with our Iraqi government allies --- Talabani, Barzani, al-Hakim, etc. Strangely our President sees fit to decry Iran for trying to influence events in Iraq, but yet has no problem meeting and greeting with these various acknowledged friends of Iran in Iraq.

01-23-2007, 07:09 PM
Cash leaves no paper trail and any Iranian covert operative worth his salt would want to see Shia causalties. Shia's can keep the pot stirred longer and more effectively than the Sunni's and the stirred pot with all its gore is what is turning the Dems and some Republican's against funding the war. The more Shia's killed, the more revenge and the sooner Congress pulls the plug and Ill bet my dog and granddaughters that Iran has been behind every Shia mosque hit. I think once China can be convinced they will not lose their energy resources via an attack on Iran's nuclear sites, it will happen. That will open the door for other punitive strikes in the name of operational security to back them out of Iraq completely. A nuclear Iran with free reign in the southern Iraqi corridor to Jordan and Israel , visa-via an absent US presence, is the world's worst nightmare scenario. Why would dreaming big end in Iran with the acquisition of nuclear arms? The key to Israel lies through Jordan what with hizbullah on its northern flank and there is nothing that unifies disparraging muslims more than an attack on Jews. Nasrallah of hizbullah has already been telling everyone who will listen that the US cannot and will not stay in Iraq. He doesn't care about Iraq, he only wants his mentor Iran to extend its reach and influence.

01-29-2007, 12:23 PM
From our friends at Threats Watch - Qods Force, Karbala and the Language of War (http://analysis.threatswatch.org/2007/01/qods-force-karbala-and-the-lan/).

There are strong indications and surrounding circumstances that point to the January 20 attack on soldiers from an American Civil Affairs Unit in Karbala, Iraq, was an operation planned and carried out by members of the Iranian Qods Force extraterritorial unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Four captured US soldiers were later executed by the attackers. If Iranian Qods Force operators carried out the attack and executions, the US response can be seen as a barometer indicating how the US will deal with the state sponsor of terrorism on the Iraqi battlefields and elsewhere in the world...

02-16-2007, 05:25 AM
Hussein Shobokshi - What About the Iranian Occupation? (http://www.aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=2&id=7989)

"There are over 30,000 Iranians that belong to the Revolutionary Guards and intelligence services on the ground, not including those that are present under the umbrella of aid organizations or scientific hawzas as well as the thousands of Iranians who were given Iraqi citizenship and “placed” in sensitive, effective and influential positions. There are entire geographic regions in Iraq that are under complete Iranian influence, where Iran is the decision-maker. A number of political and strategic decisions are made only by Iranian coordination and instruction. There is, of course, the equipment, weapons and money coming from Iran to support the death-squads, which were established by prominent Iraqi government members and which were born from Iranian intelligence services."

Mike in Hilo
02-17-2007, 02:45 AM
Not my intention to belittle the extent of Iranian influence in Iraq, just questioning the source...Strikes me that Sharq regularly espouses the Sunni (i.e., Shia-phobic--speaking politically, not theologically) viewpoint (correct me if I am wrong!) and so can be expected to take this line....Also, wonder from where the author got the 30K number.....Nevertheless, besides revelations about Iranian influence, the story and others in the paper lend some insights into what moderate Arab Sunnis are concerned about these days....


02-17-2007, 04:20 PM
The "Shark" is pretty good for an Arab paper, but as with all media (especially Arab, given the lack of anything like a disinterested party in the region) it pays to remember where the funding comes from --- Saudi Arabia, in this case. As we all know, SA has decided to play a much more obvious role in the region lately contra Iran.

02-26-2007, 06:25 AM

05-23-2007, 08:24 PM
Iran deeply involved in Iraq, Petraeus says (http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2007/05/military_petraeus_iran_070523w/). MilitaryTimes, 23 May.

Iranian government has spent the last few years training elite “secret cells” of renegade Shi’a cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army, while funding that group and other Shi’a militias in Iraq to the tune of “hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Army Gen. David Petraeus, the senior U.S. commander in Iraq.

In an exclusive May 18 interview with Military Times, Petraeus said the involvement of the Iranians is “absolutely nefarious. It is hugely damaging to Iraq. It is fuelling the Shi’a militia side of things and causing enormous problems for Iraq.”

The “secret cells” are “Sadr special ops,” Petraeus said. “But they’re different from JAM,” he added, using the acronym for the Mahdi Army’s Arabic name, Jaysh al-Mahdi.

“You really have to distinguish between run-of-the-mill JAM and the secret cells,” who, he said, “have had extra training and selection and all the rest.”
That training is the work of the Quds Force, an Iranian special operations organization that answers directly to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Petraeus said.

“We have found out an enormous amount about what the Iranians have done, and it is staggering, it really is,” he said. “It is unbelievable. They have trained dozens at a time over there [in Iran] — and dozens doesn’t sound like much, but dozens can just wreak havoc — on the use of explosively formed projectiles, rockets, mortars and IEDs, and how to do operations ...

05-28-2007, 10:23 AM
28 May LA Times - U.S.-Iran Talks to Begin Today (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-irantalks28may28,0,6014719.story?coll=la-home-center) by Ned Parker and Alexandra Zavis.

... Iran will want a deal on the armed Iranian opposition group, Mujahedin Khalq, or People's Holy Warriors, which is based in eastern Iraq under the watch of the U.S. military.

The Islamic Republic will also want the release of five Iranians detained by the U.S. Army in January. And it will seek firm guarantees that the United States will not use Iraq as a base for military strikes on Iran.

The American delegation will ask that Iran cut what the U.S. says is its support for Shiite and Sunni militants who are greatly contributing to the violence and disorder in Iraq. The U.S. side will demand an end to what it says is trafficking of armor-piercing bombs into Iraq...

05-29-2007, 09:36 AM
29 May NY Times - U.S. and Iranian Officials Meet in Baghdad, but Talks Yield No Breakthroughs (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/29/world/middleeast/29iraq.html?ref=world) by Kirk Semple.

The United States and Iran held rare face-to-face talks in Baghdad on Monday, adhering to an agenda that focused strictly on the war in Iraq and on ways the two bitter adversaries could help improve conditions here.

The meeting between Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker of the United States and Ambassador Hassan Kazemi Qumi of Iran — held in the offices of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki — produced no agreements nor a promise of a follow-up meeting between the nations, participants said...

07-25-2007, 09:10 AM
25 July Washington Post - U.S., Iran To Continue Talks Despite Differences (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/24/AR2007072400215.html?hpid=topnews) by Megan Greenwell.

The United States and Iran will continue discussions about security in Iraq despite U.S. accusations that Iran is supporting an increasing number of insurgent attacks in Iraq, the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad said Tuesday.

Representatives from the United States, Iran and Iraq will form a committee to examine possible ways to reverse Iraq's deteriorating security situation, U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker told reporters after a seven-hour meeting with Iranian officials that he characterized as "a difficult discussion." The meeting between Crocker and Hassan Kazemi Qomi, Iran's ambassador to Baghdad, was the second since May 28, when the two countries held formal, direct talks for the first time since 1979...

25 July NY Times - U.S. and Iran Trade Blame in Second Round of Iraq Talks (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/25/world/middleeast/25iraq.html?_r=1&oref=slogin) by Stephen Farrell.

A second round of talks between American and Iranian diplomats produced scant evidence of progress or common ground on Tuesday, with each side emerging to blame the other for hindering progress on security in Iraq.

Ryan C. Crocker, the American ambassador to Iraq, reiterated accusations that Iran was providing weapons and training for Shiite militias to attack American-led forces in Iraq, while his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Kazemi-Qumi, countered that Iraqis were “victimized by terror and the presence of foreign forces” in their country...

With little prospect of a breakthrough, the talks are nevertheless deemed significant by the Iraqi government, which has repeatedly urged the Iranians and the Americans not to allow their differences to further destabilize the situation in Iraq...

US State Department video of Amb. Crocker's press conference (http://video.state.gov/?fr_story=f0331febf3703faa81b3fde1edfbc1627351eb75 ).

US State Department transcript of Amb. Crocker's press conference (http://www.state.gov/p/nea/rls/rm/2007/88999.htm).

11-27-2007, 02:42 PM
The Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Monitor, 26 Nov 07:

If Iran's Revolutionary Guards Strike Back: The Case of Iraq (http://jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2373810)

....The Fifth Column

The most significant advantage that the IRGC has in Iraq is the support of military operatives working within the U.S.-trained Iraqi police and army units in Baghdad and elsewhere. According to a former Iranian agent deployed during the Iraq-Iraq War, the IRGC’s operatives were fully embedded members of the Baathist army while collaborating with the Guard’s intelligence center. In a similar way, these military personnel, who have been entrenched in the Iraqi military and police force since 2003, can provide valuable information for the IRGC’s Qods Brigade. At the time of conflict between Iran and the United States, the task of the Qods Brigade would be to transfer critical tactical and military operations information from Iraq to the Committee on Foreign Intelligence Abroad (CFIA), an IRGC intelligence agency in Tehran.

Evaluating the Threat

The most dangerous development that could occur in the period prior to a military conflict between the United States and Iran is the development of an alliance between non-political Shiite organizations, like the Mahdi splinter groups, and the IRGC. The formation of such alliances could be prevented by encouraging the Iraqi government (with the possible assistance of al-Sadr and his militia) to find ways to locate, negotiate and incorporate these splinter groups into the Iraqi electoral process and governmental institutions. There is a further threat of acting on bad intelligence from Iranian sources like the terrorist group Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), who may provide information to the coalition forces designed to expand a military conflict between the United States and Iran for their own political interests.....

04-10-2008, 01:44 PM
The Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Focus, 9 Apr 08:

Iraqi Shiite Factionalism and Iran’s Role in the Basra Fighting (http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2374086)

....it appears that Iran may have had input on both sides during the Basra showdown. The smaller pro-Iranian parties within the SIIC’s umbrella organization put pressure on Maliki and may have nudged him toward taking stronger action against the Sadrists than originally contemplated. But the conclusion of a ceasefire on Iranian soil shows that Tehran’s ability to influence the other end of the spectrum—the traditionally Iraqi nationalist Sadrist movement—may now be stronger than ever before, quite possibly the result of Moqtada’s relocation to Iran at the beginning of the surge, when he may have felt cornered by U.S. policy.

To the United States, the good news is that Maliki still seems to insist on a certain independence vis-à-vis the SIIC and Iran. A look at the composition of Maliki’s entourage during his previous mission to Basra when he imposed emergency rule in May 2006 suggests that his power base is evolving. At that time he arrived with the chief of the SIIC-linked Badr Organization, Hadi al-Amiri, as well as a former Sadrist minister from Basra, Salam al-Maliki. This time his aides consisted of independents, Interior Ministry staff and Shirwan al-Waili of the Tanzim al-Iraq branch of the Daawa Party. The constant in all of this seems to be Maliki’s desire to come across as a strong leader: In 2006, he promised an “iron fist”; this time he announced “the assault of the knights.” Through the process, he may well have rediscovered the usefulness of siding with the SIIC, but there is nothing to suggest that Maliki acted as he did for the sake of the nine-governorate Shiite federal entity.....

10-18-2008, 12:36 PM
CTC, 13 Oct 08: Iranian Strategy in Iraq: Politics and "Other Means" (http://www.ctc.usma.edu/Iran_Iraq/CTC_Iran_Iraq_Final.pdf)

This report addresses Iran's dual-strategy of providing military aid to Iraqi militia groups while simultaneously giving political support to Iraqi political parties. Although the report details the scope and nature of Iranian support to Iraqi militias, it concludes that Iran's political efforts are the core of its effort to project influence in Iraq. The report also concludes that Iran has recently worked to reduce the level of violence in Iraq while concentrating on a political campaign to shape the SFA and SOFA agreements to its strategic ends. The report does not address Iran's economic and social influence in Iraq.

* Chapter 1 describes Iran's covert operations in Iraq before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, including the formation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

* Chapter 2 assesses the trajectory of Iranian intervention in Iraq since 2003.

* Chapters 3 and 4 describe Iranian lethal aid in Iraq and draw heavily on the interrogation summaries of detained militia members.

* Chapter 5 provides key findings and recommendations.

Like many CTC reports, Iranian Strategy in Iraq is partly based on declassified information. In this case, that data includes interrogation summaries of captured militia fighters, Saddam-era Iraqi intelligence reports, and data listing weapons caches found to contain Iranian-made weapons. All of this data has been declassified and approved for release. We hope that this report and the accompanying data will enable other researchers to further analyze the dynamics of Iranian influence in Iraq. We recognize the inherent problems in using some of the sources cited in this report. Indeed, we have serious concerns that Iraqi intelligence agents relied on information from the anti‐Iranian terrorist group, the Mujahidin‐e Khalq Organization (MKO). Data provided by the MKO is sometimes accurate but often considered not credible because of the MKO’s endemic interest in portraying Iran in as negative a light possible. Likewise, unclassified information from Coalition Forces’ SIGACTS reports can lack important context. Finally, information obtained from interrogations of detained militants must be interpreted with extreme caution. Detainees may be misinformed or lying, interrogators may misunderstand or poorly transcribe information, and the context of a detainee’s story may be missing. Readers should be wary of these problems, as we have tried to be.
Complete 90-page report at the link.

Appendix A: Interrogation Summaries (http://www.ctc.usma.edu/Iran_Iraq/Appendix_A_Intelligence_Summaries.pdf)

Appendix B: Documents (Mostly Saddam-Era Iraqi Intelligence Documents) (http://www.ctc.usma.edu/Iran_Iraq/Appendix_B_Harmony_Docs.pdf)

Appendix C: Reports of Iranian Weapons Found in Caches (http://www.ctc.usma.edu/Iran_Iraq/Appendix_C_Cache_Data.pdf)