29 December 2014
A senior Iranian cleric with close ties to Tehran’s leadership, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss security matters, said that since the Islamic State’s capture of much of northern Iraq in June, Iran has sent more than 1,000 military advisers to Iraq, as well as elite units, and has conducted airstrikes and spent more than $1 billion on military aid.
The Washington Post report adds: “While the departure of U.S. troops in 2011 provided space for Iran to expand its influence in Iraq, Tehran’s support for paramilitary groups has intensified since the appearance of the Sunni militant group.”
Reports of abuses by Shiite militiamen have increased in recent months, raising fears that militia death squads that helped fuel past sectarian violence are on the march.
American officials are also watching to see whether Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has the political clout to hold his unity government together and keep paramilitary forces in check.
Meanwhile the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said in a statement that there are currently thousands of Iranian Revolutionary Guards stationed in a number of Iraqi cities to help Tehran regime to compensate its loss in Iraq after the ouster of former Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
The guards that are estimated to be over 7000 are stationed in Baghdad, Diyala and Salah ad-Din provinces and the cities of Samarra, Karbala, Najaf, Khaneqain, Sa’adiyah and Jaloula.
A dispatched Revolutionary Guards include commanders and experts that accompany the militias in various areas of Iraq, according to the NCRI.
The Iranian Resistance warned that Revolutionary Guards are not in Iraq to fight ISIS, but to compensate for the heavy blow caused by Nouri al-Maliki’s ouster to create a Velayat-e faqih caliphate in Iraq.
The slaughter and forced migration, along with aggression against the Iraqi people, in particular the Sunnis, and ridding them of their property by the revolutionary guards and their affiliated militias under the pretext of fighting ISIS has endangered peace and security throughout the region and fuels the machine of extremism and terrorism in the whole region, NCRI warns.