Tags: Baghdad | Iraq | IRGC | Hezbollah | ISIS | Middle East | Tehran

Cure May Be Worse Than The Disease

By Wednesday, 04 March 2015 08:38 AM Current | Bio | Archive

The Islamic State is threatening the very existence of Iraq as a nation state. The U.S. is working with the national government in Baghdad to preserve an inclusive, democratic government from annihilation at the hands of a barbarian force representing the worst aspects of the Dark Ages.

American troops are rebuilding the Iraqi Army, so that it can take the fight to ISIS and restore the territorial integrity of Iraq. American and coalition aircraft are providing air support for the efforts of a free people to defend themselves against religious fanaticism and despotism. Sometime this year a new Iraqi Army, representing the nation as a whole, will retake Mosul and drive a stake into the heart of the monster that is ISIS.

If you listen to the administration, that’s the narrative you will hear. We might as well be storming the beaches of Normandy. It’s the civilized world versus the armies of darkness. Our men and women are working hand in glove with a government in Iraq that wants to preserve democracy and the rule of law against ignorance and hate.

The reality on the ground is something quite different. If you want to know just how different take a look at the offensive launched days ago by the Iraqis to retake the city of Tikrit— now under ISIS control.

The Iraqi force assaulting Tikrit is composed largely, not of Iraqi Army units, but of so-called Shia militias. It is operating not under the direction of U.S. Army advisors but of an Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani, of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force.

The Iraqi Shia militias in question, such as the Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada and the Badr Group, are proxies of Iran. That is not supposition. That is long established fact. They are bought, paid for and trained by Iran.

They are modeled on the most famous Shia militia of them all, Hezbollah. Many of their members, in fact, have trained in Lebanon with Hezbollah. They have also served in large numbers, alongside Hezbollah, inside Syria, fighting to preserve the brutal Assad regime.

Members of these militias have engaged in all sorts of atrocities, virtually indistinguishable in many cases from the actions of ISIS. They have executed prisoners. They have slaughtered civilians. Badr Group commander Hadi Al-Ameri is known to prefer to use power drills in torturing and murdering his victims.

Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, another Shia militia commander, was the alleged mastermind behind the bombings of the U.S. and French embassies in Kuwait in the 1980’s.

His group, the Kataib Hezbollah, also carried out numerous attacks on U.S. forces during the Iraq War and has been officially designated a terrorist group by the U.S. government. The Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia was responsible for the kidnap and murder of five American soldiers in 2007.

The Quds Force, which supports these militias, is the arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) which is responsible for overseas operations and cooperation with Iranian-affiliated terrorist groups abroad. During the Iraq War President Bush formally accused Iran of using the Quds Force to arm and train insurgents fighting American forces and of working specifically to enhance the lethality of IED’s used against our soldiers.

Wherever the Iranians are involved in supporting terrorist groups and targeting Western interests the Quds force is there. As a consequence, the Quds Force is also formally designated as a terrorist organization.

These then are the people who are attacking Tikrit and seeking to wrest it from ISIS control. Do you know who is flying air cover for this offensive? We are.

The Administration has gone to great pains, since the launching of the Tikrit assault, about which it was apparently not consulted, to state that our aircraft are not directly cooperating with the attacking forces on the ground.

This may be true, at least for now, although the Administration’s statement did not specifically guarantee that such cooperation would not occur in the future. If it is true, it is a distinction without a difference.

We are bombing ISIS targets throughout Iraq and Syria everyday. We are de facto, therefore, in league with Iranian backed and directed forces on the ground. In addition, in many cases these militia forces are actually using tanks, armored personnel carriers, Humvees and equipment that we gave the Iraqi government initially.

There are literally convoys of American manufactured vehicles flying the Islamic banners of these pro-Iranian groups moving on the ISIS occupied city of Tikrit.

The delusional nature of a foreign policy that has put us in the position of effectively allying ourselves with the world’s most dangerous radical Islamic state is mind-boggling. We are stumbling our way forward toward a future in which even if we succeed in crushing ISIS we will have assisted in abetting the spread of a much more lethal adversary, revolutionary Iran.

ISIS represents barbarism and darkness, but is ultimately a collection of madmen armed with castoff weapons. Iran is an enemy with an army, a navy, an air force and the potential to build nuclear weapons, puting them on ballistic missiles that can threaten the world.

We are also effectively dooming any chance that Iraq as a nation state can be put back together in any coherent fashion. ISIS has taken root in fissures caused by Sunni Arab hatred of a government in Baghdad they see as a creature of Tehran.

Our aiding and abetting assaults on ISIS controlled cities by rabid Shia militias and their IRGC masters will only cement the conviction in Sunni Arab minds that Baghdad is a hostile entity to be resisted at all costs.

Our policy in Iraq is a disaster devoid of any basis in reality. We are ignoring the facts on the ground. We are being played for fools, and Tehran is reaping the spoils of our incompetence.

Fixated on ISIS and ignoring the political, religious and ethnic realities, which allowed it to gain strength, we are losing the broader war for control in the Middle East. We may kill ISIS. We may also find that the cure is worse than the disease.

This column appeared first in Epic Times.
Charles S. Faddis, president of Orion Strategic Services, LLC, is a former CIA operations officer with 20 years of experience in the conduct of intelligence operations in the Middle East, South Asia, and Europe. He is the senior intelligence editor for AND Magazine and a contributor to a wide variety of counterterrorism and homeland security journals. His nonfiction works include "Operation Hotel California," a history of the actions of his team inside Iraq from 2002 to 2003, "Willful Neglect," an examination of homeland security, and "Beyond Repair," an argument for intelligence reform. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Our policy in Iraq is a disaster devoid of any basis in reality. We are ignoring the facts on the ground. We are being played for fools, and Tehran is reaping the spoils of our incompetence.
Baghdad, Iraq, IRGC, Hezbollah, ISIS, Middle East, Tehran, Tikrut, U.S.
Wednesday, 04 March 2015 08:38 AM
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