March 3, 2015

KNOWING YOUR ALLIES:

Tikrit: Iran key in fight to wrest city from IS (Nafiseh Kohnavard, 3/03/15, BBC Persian)

As Iraqi and Shia militias try to recapture the city of Tikrit from Islamic State (IS), the key role of Iran in the campaign is becoming clearer.

Shia militia sources in Iraq have confirmed that Gen Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force is personally taking part in leading the operation. [...]

A Brigades commander told BBC Persian that Iranian forces under Gen Soleimani were training and morally preparing Iraqi Shia fighters for the operation long before it began.

Although Iran was left out by the US and its allies when they formed a coalition against IS last year, its direct involvement in fighting IS militants in Iraq was revealed long before the coalition was formed.

Since last summer, a number of Shia militia groups have emerged in Iraq that openly pledge their allegiance to Iran and declare themselves as followers of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iranian officials have always pointed out that their country is helping both Shia and Kurdish forces in the fight against IS but it was in a battle in late August 2014 that Iran's direct military involvement was made clear.

Posted by at March 3, 2015 4:17 PM
  

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