Iraqi Shia militiamen hold portraits of Iran’s late leader Khomeini (C), Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei (L) and Iraq’s top Shia cleric Ali al-Sistani during a parade in Baghdad, last year. (Reuters)

February 11, 2019

Like their Iranian masters, leaders of the sectarian militias in Iraq like to boast that they and the “Iraqi people and the people of the resistance” will fight the US forces on Iraqi soil, just as they had fought the Islamic State, and that they will kick out all occupiers from Iraq.

However, the Iraqi people, who suffer from the lack of basic services — courtesy of the country’s corrupt political class — poverty and unemployment, are not duped by the militias’ infantile game.

To the militias’ slogans, Iraqis responded with comments such as: “Bring home the mujahideen of Rafha, on whom you spend tens of billions of dollars a month to fight the Americans” or “Why don’t you go and fight yourselves? We’re staying right here.” There have been many calls made for Iraqis not to leave their homes in the event of clashes between US forces and pro-Iranian militias.

In truth, the militias, grouped under the banner of Al-Hashed al-Shaabi, were established to besiege the Iraqis, rob them of their freedom, humiliate them and assassinate those who oppose the Iranian presence in Iraq.

The latest proof of that was the assassination of novelist and university professor Alaa Mashdhub because he dared defend Iraq. In an instant, Mashdhub became a martyr for freedom, beauty, the oppressed masses and his fellow countrymen’s right to decent living.

Assuming Tehran might wage a war on Washington, it would need to enlist the help of all its tools, that is to say, its loyal parties and militias. It did so in Lebanon, Syria, Bahrain and Yemen, even though it is aware that those who betray their country cannot be trusted.

The Iranian regime of the velayat-e faqih has been eroding from within for quite some time so don’t be surprised if it crumbles suddenly and neither its militias nor its mercenaries would be able to protect it.

The militias in Iraq are Iranian in terms of design, training, funding, goals and objectives. Al-Hashed al-Shaabi is Iranian in spirit and loyalty. Its fighters were meant to be the nucleus of an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — a la Iran — whose mission is to cut off Iraq and attach it to the rule of velayat-e faqih. And why not because most religious parties in Iraq are pushing in that direction?

The first Iraqi militia was established in Iran in February 1980 under the supervision of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. That was a few months before Iran launched its war against Iraq, which ended with the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s famous statement about having to “drink from a poisoned cup.”

The Iraqi militias were then attached to Tehran’s Office of International Liberation Movements headed by Sayed Mehdi Hashemi, who was executed because he exposed the secret relations between Tehran and Washington.

When the first Gulf War broke out in September 1980, Iran commissioned Iraqi militia elements to carry out assassinations and sabotage inside Iraq during the 1980-88 war years. During the war, the militias were turned into the so-called Badr Brigade under the leadership of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and then Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi.

On April 6, 1981, Iraqi sectarian parties, at their conference in Tehran, pledged allegiance to Khomeini as their imam, wali and supreme leader. They adopted the project of the absolute rule of velayat-e faqih and declared their participation in the war fronts against Iraq. The most prominent figures of these were Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim, the Dawa Party and the Islamic Action Organisation.

Iranian terrorist actions against Iraq have never ceased since the beginning of the Iranian revolution. During the US-led invasion of Iraq, the Badr Brigade, led by Hadi al-Amiri and directed by Abdulaziz al-Hakim, entered Iraqi territory and reached a camp belonging to the Jalal Talabani party. The Badr militia factions were reorganised and given the mission of supporting the US military effort in coordination with the Kurdistan Union militia under the supervision of Jalal Talabani.

As for the Dawa Party, Khomeini, after the overthrow of the shah, encouraged all members of the party to go to Iran to establish four leaderships with the same objectives but slightly different missions. Iran set up training camps for the party, including the Martyr Sadr Camp in the suburbs of Tehran. That camp remained the largest gathering of Dawa Party members in Iran until 1981 and trained 7,000 fighters to conduct secret operations inside Iraq for the benefit of Iranian intelligence.

As soon as the US occupation forces entered Iraq in 2003, the Dawa Party issued sectarian statements filled with unprecedented hatred. Looting of state institutions in Iraq were supposedly planned by the Dawa Party.

No one in Iraq is listening to the music played by Iran and its militiamen. Every true Iraqi despises these militias, which will end up devouring each other.

The Arab Weekly

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.