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Report to the UN Security Council on the Situation in Iraq

Monday, 17 November 2014 19:49

Report to the UN Security Council on the Situation in Iraq

 By European Iraqi Freedom Association - November 2014

 Introduction & Summary

1. Coalition airstrikes against ISIS (ISIL-Islamic State) began in August 2014, a short while after the United Nations Security Council session on Iraq on 23 July 2014. Despite 100 days of bombardment and the United States sending a wide range of weapons and ammunition for Iraqi forces and the Peshmergas in Kurdistan, there is still no clear prospect for a successful end to the war against this barbaric group. American officials believe this fight could go on for several years.

2. After the invasion of Kuwait by the powerful Iraqi army in 1991, it took 40 days for the western coalition to liberate it. The 2003 conflict to topple Saddam Hussein lasted around 3 weeks. One wonders why does a war against a terrorist group – which does  not compare to the Iraqi army of those days, take this long without any end in sight?

3. There is no doubt that the anti-ISIS coalition, and especially the US government, has not had a clear strategy. They have no intention to send troops even though there is no reliable and trustworthy local force on the ground in Iraq or Syria.

The US and the al-Abadi government are not able to recruit or organize Iraqi Sunni tribes or elements of the population who fought against al-Qaeda in the past. The significant majority of the Iraqi tribes and Sunnis who were fighting Maliki’s government have now left the battlefields, with just a small portion of them joining ISIS.

4. As a result the terrorist and criminal militias associated with Iran have become stronger and in some areas they have been able to take over from ISIS. The criminal record of these Shia forces in Iraq during the past decade has been significantly worse than that of ISIS.

5. While there might be different opinions about the roots of the current crisis, there is no doubt that the mistakes made by the US and coalition forces in occupying Iraq, helping the authoritarian rule of Maliki and handing Iraq on a silver platter to Iran, have been the main cause of the current crisis.

6. Not paying attention to the root of the problem, making no attempt to correct these mistakes and worst of all pursuing the same failed policy by the US and the al-Abadi government, have prolonged this war.

7. From a military point of view the bombardments are not effective without the active participation of the Sunni community and tribes. The Sunnis have repeatedly declared their readiness to join the coalition. They have had successful experiences in their fight against al-Qaeda when General Petraeus was the commander of US forces in Iraq. But after getting rid of al-Qaeda in Iraq, these tribes were left on their own by the Americans and were then brutally repressed by Maliki. So they are rightly setting some conditions to join the war against ISIS.

8. To bring the Sunni tribes back onto the scene we need to adopt a different approach:  ending Iranian influence in the government, decreasing the influence of terrorist Shiite militias (such as the Badr Corps, Asaeb Ahl al-Haq and Kata’ib Hezbollah). Otherwise the war against ISIS will turn into a Shiite-Sunni conflict.

9. We need a cultural and religious alternative to confront the violent, reactionary and extremist interpretation of Islam, for both Sunnis and Shias.  We should support those Muslims who advocate a tolerant Islam.

10. To reach these goals, one has to take a firm stance against the religious fascism ruling Iran, evicting it from Iraq and Syria. Then we could witness a reverse trend. However it seems that the US, still hoping to become friendly with the Ayatollahs, is reluctant to get anywhere close to this solution. This could lead to disaster.

The European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA) has quickly prepared this report for the Security Council, the Coalition and the European officials, with a hope of making a small contribution towards adopting a correct policy in the war against ISIS and Islamic fundamentalism.

 

I – Destructive role of Iran in  Iraq

11. The Iranian regime has always pursued the policy of creating a global Islamic state, named by its founder Ayatollah Khomeini as the Islamic Caliphate. This is written in the Iranian constitution. Principle 11 of this constitution states: “All Muslims are one nation and the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is obligated to arrange its general policies based on a coalition and alliance of Islamic nations, and place its sustained efforts to establish a political, economic and cultural unity in the Islamic world.” In his will Khomeini called on all Muslims across the globe to “join forces under the proud flag of Islam and rise against the enemies of Islam and the deprived and defenseless people; and advance towards an Islamic state with free and independent republics.”

12. From the very first day the Islamic Republic of Iran considered the neighbouring Iraq as a springboard to implement this strategy. It began its meddling by creating the slogan of conquering Quds (Jerusalem) through Karbala (an Iraqi holy city). Khomeini continued the Iran-Iraq war, which he regarded as “God’s gift”. After Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the Iraqi government became very weak. Iran used the opportunity to restart its meddling which reached its climax during the 2003 war. Iran was one of the invisible supporters of the US government occupying Iraq. Thus following the fall of Saddam Hussein, Iran began its aggressive political, intelligence, terrorist and economic intervention in this country.

13. As a first step, Tehran sent back thousands of Iraqis who had resided in Iran during the Iran-Iraq War. They were organized into groups associated to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). From 2003 they gradually entered the military and other institutions. They kept their paramilitary identity by acting under the orders of Iran’s Quds Force.

14. In January 2006, the Iranian opposition PMOI revealed the names of 32,000 Iraqis on the pay role with Iran. This incredible document included in detail the names, the year of their admission to the IRGC, location of mission, account numbers and the wages these Iraqis receive from the IRGC, etc.

The Associated Press wrote on 26 January 2006:

“An Iranian opposition group stationed in France said on Friday that Iran has thousands of employees active in Iraq, publishing the names of nearly 32,000 individuals they claim are regime elements… the National Council of Resistance of Iran published the names, the alleged dates they were hired by Iran and the wages of 31,690 Iraqis. The Council claimed that most of the money of these people is paid by Iran’s IRGC Quds Force, part of Iran’s army that the US military says pays the expenses of militants in Iraq and equips them with weapons.”

Later on, 400 of these Iraqis were hired in the office of Prime Minister Maliki. One of them was Hadi al-Ameri, the commander of the Badr terrorist militias who later became the minister of transportation in the second term of Maliki’s premiership.

15. Iran did not stop at just sending Shiite terrorists to Iraq. Being familiar with the situation in Iraq, it started to incite terrorism under the name of the Sunnis. Many al-Qaeda leaders sought refuge from Afghanistan to Iran in 2001. Iran provided them with a safe haven, keeping them under control to employ them at a suitable opportunity in the future. The year 2003 was the time for Iran to employ some of them.

16. On 28 July 2011, the New York Times wrote: The Treasury Department on Thursday accused the Iranian authorities of aiding Al Qaeda and said it was imposing financial sanctions on six people believed to be Qaeda operatives in Iran, Kuwait, Qatar and Pakistan.  Weighing in on the puzzling question of whether Iran’s Shiite regime seeks to help the primarily Sunni Al Qaeda, Treasury officials asserted that the Iranian government had entered into an agreement with operatives of the terrorist group and was allowing the country to be used as a transit point for funneling money and people from the Persian Gulf to Pakistan and Afghanistan. The officials say they have become convinced that Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil, whom they described as a “prominent Iran-based Al Qaeda facilitator,” is operating in Iran under an agreement between Al Qaeda and the government.

“This network serves as the core pipeline through which Al Qaeda moves money, facilitators and operatives from across the Middle East to South Asia, including to Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, a key Al Qaeda leader based in Pakistan,” the Treasury said in a statement. Mr. Rahman, another of the six people named in the Treasury action, is believed to have recently ascended to the No. 2 position in Al Qaeda, reporting directly to the organization’s new leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, who took over after the death of Osama bin Laden. “By exposing Iran’s secret deal with Al Qaeda allowing it to funnel funds and operatives through its territory, we are illuminating yet another aspect of Iran’s unmatched support for terrorism,” said David S. Cohen, the Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.…One senior administration person said the action sought to expose both “a key funding facilitation network for Al Qaeda and a key aspect for Iranian support for international terrorism.”  “Our sense is this network is operating through Iranian territory with the knowledge and at least the acquiescence of Iranian authorities,” the official said in a conference call with reporters.

17. Iran never dispatched all of them to Iraq, keeping the rest for other terrorist operations. The New York Times wrote in a report on Saturday, September 20, 2014, that the group named as ‘Khorasan’ was formed by Mohsen al-Fazli, an inner circle of Osama Bin Laden, murdered leader of al-Qaeda, and is based in Syria. According to the NYT, the U.S. intelligence agencies had been monitoring Mohsen al-Fazli, 33 and a Kuwait citizen, since a decade ago. According to the U.S. State Department, al-Fazli used to live in Iran with a small group of al-Qaeda before going to Syria. That group had fled from Afghanistan to Iran after the 9/11 attacks. NYT adds that the U.S. SD identified Mohsen al-Fazli as the “leader of al-Qaeda in Iran” in 2012 and said he had managed “the money and individuals” in Iran. According to the U.S. SD, al-Fazli had been cooperation with a rich Kuwaiti person who is one of those who ‘finance jihadists”.

II - Handing over Iraq to Iran

18. Given the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq, the militias associated with the Iranian regime and the Quds Force were not sufficient for Iran to draw Iraq into its complete circle of domination. Maliki’s taking office in 2006 accelerated the Iranian regime’s gradual domination over Iraq. Although Maliki had been literally brought to office by the Americans, he became a key figure to implement Tehran’s agenda in Iraq. The Iranian regime’s smartest move was to deceive the Americans into thinking that Maliki was safeguarding the interests of both Iran and the U.S. at the same time.

19. Maliki’s second term as PM was a tragedy for the Iraqi people, for the region, and for the world. Ali Khedery, an advisor to U.S. ambassadors to Iraq, wrote in The Washington Post on 3 July 2014:

In 2006, I helped introduce him to the U.S. ambassador, recommending him as a promising option for prime minister…

By 2010, however, I was urging the vice president of the United States and the White House senior staff to withdraw their support for Maliki. I had come to realize that if he remained in office, he would create a divisive, despotic and sectarian government that would rip the country apart and devastate American interests. America stuck by Maliki. As a result, we now face strategic defeat in Iraq and perhaps in the broader Middle East.

He began a systematic campaign to destroy the Iraqi state and replace it with his private office and his political party. He sacked professional generals and replaced them with those personally loyal to him. He coerced Iraq’s chief justice to bar some of his rivals from participating in the elections in March 2010. After the results were announced and Maliki lost to a moderate, pro-Western coalition encompassing all of Iraq’s major ethno-sectarian groups, the judge issued a ruling that awarded Maliki the first chance to form a government, ushering in more tensions and violence.

Our debates mattered little, however, because the most powerful man in Iraq and the Middle East, Gen. Qassim Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, was about to resolve the crisis for us. After admonishing the feuding Iraqis to work together, Soleimani dictated the outcome on behalf of Iran’s supreme leader: Maliki would remain premier; Jalal Talabani, a legendary Kurdish guerilla with decades-long ties to Iran, would remain president; and, most important, the American military would be made to leave at the end of 2011.

Maliki never appointed a permanent, parliament-confirmed interior minister, nor a defense minister, nor an intelligence chief. Instead, he took the positions for himself. He also broke nearly every promise he made to share power with his political rivals after they voted him back into office through parliament in late 2010.” (Washington Post- July 3, 2014)

20. According to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, Iraq has one of the highest rates of executions in the world.

On 19 October 2014, UNAMI and UNHCHR expressed their concern over the increasing number of executions in Iraq. The number of executions in Iraq in years 2005-2009 increased and 124 people were executed in 2009. Although there was a decrease in the number of executions in 2010 (election year in Iraq), it went up sharply in the years 2011 to 2013. In 2013, at least 177 people were sent to the gallows and in the first 9 months of 2014, at least 60 people were executed. 

Executions in Iraq are usually carried out in a collective manner; in one incident in 2013, 34 people were hanged in a single day.

Iraq’s department of justice has announced there are now 1724 people waiting to be executed. 

According to the annual report of the Iraq Human Rights Association in the US (7 Jan 2014): “In Iraq there are 16,000 prisoners with sentences and 17,000 individuals in prison without any sentences. In 2013 alone the number of Iraqis killed reached 11,215 and 25,684 individuals injured.”

“…with regard to retrogression of freedoms and women’s enjoyment of public rights, Iraq is the second country among the worst Arab states” (Asharqiya TV- 11 December 2013)

The Christian population in Iraq was estimated at 2.5 million before 2003. Today only 300,000 Christians have remained in Iraq. (Al Jazeera, 20 July 2014)

21. The corruption in Maliki’s government was staggering. A report of the International Transparency Organization says in 2009 the Iraqi government ranked 167 in the world in the field of fighting corruption, and in the 2010 report it fell to 175th, and in 2011 it was ranked 174th. The report states that corruption has reached over 50% in Iraq. (Al Jazeera TV, 13 November 2014)

The Star Four Institution in Texas says that on a daily basis $20 million dollars is stolen from Iraq and 10% of southern Iraq’s oil is being stolen by a network organized by Iran. (Al Jazeera, 13 November 2013)

According to the U.S. annual report on human rights in Iraq, 7 January 2014, there are ten million poor people in Iraq and 4 million of them live under the poverty line. It added that 20% of the Iraqi people are illiterate, whereas in the 90s, there was almost no illiteracy in Iraq. 

According to Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General of the UN for Humanitarian Affairs, 1.8 million people became homeless and displaced in Iraqi last December (al-Hurra- 14 September 2014).

22. The SOFA agreement and the departure of US forces beginning in early 2009 made things easier for Iran. One example was the illegal transfer of the protection of Ashraf residents from the US to the Iraqi government, which led to 6 massacres. Immediately after the departure of US forces, Ayatollah Khamenei in his meeting with the Iraqi President on 29 February 2009, said Prime Minister Maliki must live up to his commitment on expelling the PMOI from Iraq. Five months later, on 28 and 29 July 2009, Maliki ordered the first bloodbath in Ashraf.

23. By the end of 2011, with the last US soldier leaving Iraq, the country had become a colony of Iran. Khedery wrote in the Washington Post:

“He [Maliki] also abrogated the pledges he made to the United States. Per Iran’s instructions, he did not move forcefully at the end of 2011 to renew the Security Agreement, which would have permitted American combat troops to remain in Iraq. He did not dissolve his Office of the Commander in Chief, the entity he has used to bypass the military chain of command by making all commanders report to him. He did not relinquish control of the U.S.-trained Iraqi counterterrorism and SWAT forces, wielding them as a praetorian guard. He did not dismantle the secret intelligence organizations, prisons and torture facilities with which he has bludgeoned his rivals. He did not abide by a law imposing term limits, again calling upon kangaroo courts to issue a favorable ruling. And he still has not issued a new and comprehensive amnesty that would have helped quell unrest from previously violent Shiite and Sunni Arab factions that were gradually integrating into politics.

In short, Maliki’s one-man, one-Dawa-party Iraq looks a lot like Hussein’s one-man, one-Baath Party Iraq. But at least Hussein helped contain a strategic American enemy: Iran. And Washington didn’t spend $1 trillion propping him up. There is not much “democracy” left if one man and one party with close links to Iran control the judiciary, police, army, intelligence services, oil revenue, treasury and the central bank. Under these circumstances, renewed ethno-sectarian civil war in Iraq was not a possibility. It was a certainty.” (Washington Post- July 3, 2014)

 

III – Sunnis Victimized

24. Although all the Iraqi people suffered under Maliki, the Sunnis were faced with a brutal genocide. Prisons have been filled with Sunni prisoners and those executed are nearly all Sunnis.

25. In December 2011, immediately after returning from his trip to the US, Maliki carried out a conspiracy against the Vice President Dr. Tariq al-Hashemi, one of the most respected Iraqi Sunni leaders, arresting many of his bodyguards and close colleagues. Maliki sentenced a number of them to death and others were killed under torture. Tariq al-Hashemi, who had gone to Iraqi Kurdistan and then to Turkey, was sentenced to death in absentia. The trend of eliminating and purging Sunni politicians continued and in December 2012, the Finance Minister Rafe al-Issawi was arrested. His bodyguards and colleagues were also arrested. All these measures, carried out under the orders of the Iranian regime, were done with America’s blessing. 

26. In December 2012, a year after US forces’ withdrawal, peaceful rallies and uprisings began in Sunni provinces. Despite massive arrests and a brutal crackdown, Maliki was not able to silence them. The uprisings continued in Anbar, Salahadin, Diyala, Neinawa, Kirkuk and Baghdad. The epicentre of these rallies was Anbar, the largest province in Iraq, which is of strategic importance, bordering the countries of Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

27. The demands of the millions-strong peaceful demonstrations and rallies were not met with positive responses from Maliki. In fact on 23 April 2013 Maliki attacked the rally in the city of Hawija, which has a small population, in the Kirkuk Province. According to Al-Jazeera TV, “At least 50 people were killed and 250 others were injured.”

Iraqi Minister of Education Mohamed al-Tamim, who resigned from Maliki’s cabinet following the al-Hawija massacre, said in shocking revelations: “What took place in Hawija was nothing but a massacre to the exact meaning of the word.” (Al-Sharqiya TV, 24 April 2014)

Salim al-Jabouri, the Iraqi Parliament’s Human Rights Committee Chairman:” A committee was established by the parliament to discover the truth… the result was that the protesters had no weapons, and this has been proven with evidence… “SWAT” attacking forces were the forces that accepted no peaceful solutions, they had nothing but weapons to use, 80% of the victims were hit from the waist upwards, meaning they were shot in the chest, head or side.”(Al-Sharqiya TV, 26 April 2014)

28. The peaceful demonstrations continued until December 2013 when Maliki’s forces attacked the protesters of Ramadi, the center of Anbar Province, killing and wounding hundreds. The day before, Maliki’s forces had attacked the home of Dr. Ahmed al-Alwani, Chair of the Iraqi Parliament’s Economic Committee, arresting him and murdering some members of his family, including his brother. He is still in prison.

29. It was in such conditions that the Anbar tribes took up arms. Their demands were very simple and legitimate:  calling on the armed forces to leave their cities, security being handed over to local forces, releasing political prisoners, ending widespread religious discrimination.

 

IV – Maliki’s Army and the Fall of Mosul

30. Instead of responding to the demands of the Anbar uprising and reaching an agreement, the reaction of Maliki and his repressive forces were – as recommended by the Iranian regime – to launch air strikes against innocent civilians and to crush the Sunnis.

31. While Maliki’s security forces, including the ‘Golden Division’, SWAT forces and anti-terrorist units were very brutal and repressive, showing no mercy in arresting, torturing and massacring the people, Maliki’s army was in despair confronting the Anbar people. His 6-months military operations (from December 2013 to June 2014) to take back Anbar ended in failure. Nevertheless the army continued to bombard the civilian population.

The indiscriminate heavy shelling from long distances and missile barrages by army helicopter gunships were conducted against residential homes and schools and they did not even spare the hospitals. In the 8-month long battle the Fallujah main Hospital was hit 17 times by Iraqi forces. Al Jazeera TV reported on 5 August 2014: “Maliki’s aviation forces bombed the Fallujah Hospital with three barrel bombs, leaving dozens killed and injured.”

32. One of the biggest mistakes made by the US government was to dissolve the Iraqi army which was quite professional and field experienced and far from having any sectarian elements. The new army that the US helped to form lacked any military value due to the existence of a corrupt and sectarian political establishment under the influence of the Iranian regime. On one hand Maliki – instructed by Iran – carried out a widespread purge inside the army and installed his own men in key posts; and on the other hand corruption had spread through the army ranks. On 11 November 2014, Iraq’s new Minister of Transportation said that over 150,000 fictitious employees and soldiers were listed as receiving wages, meaning people who were actually not working or did not exist at all, but salaries were received on their behalf.

33. The repression of the Sunnis being neglected by the Americans who fully backed Maliki, created an explosive atmosphere in various Sunni provinces. Six months of resistance by the people and tribes of Anbar led to many defections in the army; sometimes battalions would completely surrender or disappear and flee for their lives.

Al Jazeera TV reported on 1 January 2014, “A number of troops in the Rapid Deployment battalion of Waset Province surrendered to armed tribes when the police center was attacked. They say they have surrendered so they wouldn’t fight for any side of a war where Iraqis murder Iraqis. The armed tribes divided the surrendered men into numerous houses and gave them civilian clothing, waiting to hand them over to their tribes.” And on 3 January Al Jazeera reported, “A battalion commander surrendered himself, his troops and their equipment to the Jomeile tribe in Fallujah.”

Sheikh Ali Hatam Suleiman, spokesperson of the Iraqi revolutionaries and leader of the Doleim tribe said on 10 April 2014 to Al Jazeera TV, “To this day in the battles of revolutionary forces against Maliki’s forces, six thousand of Maliki’s troops have died, over 21,000 fled and over 400 of their vehicles were destroyed.

34. It was in such conditions that on 10 June the provinces of Neinawa and Salahadin, along with parts of Kirkuk and Diyala provinces were taken over from Maliki’s forces. Over 60,000 Iraqi armed forces were dismantled and fled the scene against a force that was at least 10 times smaller

The sudden fall of Mosul with a population of 3.5 million with no resistance shocked the world.  This happened while there were 5 combat divisions under the command of General Ali al-Gheidan, chief of the Ground Forces, and General Abud Qanbar, chief of staff of the armed forces. The army’s 2nd and 3rd army divisions in Mosul, the 12th division in Kirkuk, the 4th division in Salahadin and the 3rd Federal police division in Mosul were destroyed.

Maliki could not deny this catastrophe and embarrassment: “What took place in Mosul was truly a big shock for all of us,” he said. (Al Iraqiya TV – 17 June 2014)

35. There have been conflicting reports on who took these areas from the Iraqi army. What is certain – especially in Salahadin and Diyala – is that the armed tribes and people in these regions played a major role. ISIS and various tribes took Neinawa Province out of Maliki’s control region by region. However, a number of important factors played a significant role in this advance.

Firstly, because of crimes committed by the Iranian regime and Maliki, many Sunnis preferred to be ruled by anyone but Maliki and militants associated to Iran.

Secondly, Maliki’s forces did not have the power to confront this attack.

Thirdly, some individuals inside Maliki’s military forces cooperated with the armed tribes.

Fourthly, the US relied on the Iraqi army and neglected the people’s demands in this region, which deepened the crisis. Ignoring the Sunni tribes – who were willing to fight ISIS if Maliki was set aside – resulted in the rise to power of ISIS, against the interests of the tribes.

 

V – Position of the Iraqi Tribes

36. Iraq’s Sunni tribes, over 100,000 of whom were fighting Al-Qaida in the Awakening Councils during the time Gen. Petraeus was the US forces Commander in Iraq, had very clear positions from the beginning of the ISIS emergence and 2 months prior to the US air strikes. These tribes expressed readiness to fight ISIS if Maliki was set aside and the Iranian regime and its associated militias were pushed back.

37. The Grand Mufti of Iraq, Dr. Rafe al-Refaei sent a televised message on 13 June 2014, on the recent developments in Iraq: “It is very surprising that they accuse ‘freedom-loving revolutionaries’ as linked to terrorist groups like ISIS,” he said. “They are not ISIS. They are freedom-loving men who are fed up with Maliki’s cruelty. However, Maliki’s government and his allies accuse them of being linked to ISIS to create rifts between the people of the liberated cities and the revolutionaries,” he added. The Iraqi Mufti described ISIS as a terrorist group, but also called on youths in Iraqi cities to support the armed tribes to liberate the country from ‘Maliki’s cruelty’. The Iraqi Grand Mufti expressed his gratitude towards those who surrendered their weapons to the revolutionaries. “These revolutionaries are your brothers and they have no sectarian tendencies, and they will not attack any religious sites, either Shiite, Sunni or Christian,” he continued. Al-Arabiya.net – 13 June 2014

38. Sheikh Ali Hatam Suleiman leader of the Doleimi tribe in an interview with Al Arabieh on June 14, 2014 said: "We do not have ISIS among ourselves. We are the tribes…. I must say it explicitly that there are connections between ISIS and government institutions. There are many reasons to say that, for example in Ramadi, which has been completely under siege, they would freely come with certain vehicles, some wearing military uniform… We know who they are affiliated with. ISIS has been created by Iran. The Government wants to use them as a cover to fight terrorism. The real terrorism in Iraq is Maliki’s terrorism. We declare before God and the people of the world that we denounce ISIS and we can retake whatever they might gain. But our prime goal is to end Maliki’s dictatorship and then we shall fight the ISIS as we have done before.

 “Iran has been meddling in Iran for long time. We are concerned about Iran’s new plots. Attacking the two holy shrines in Samara is an Iranian scheme that Maliki wants to implement. Their objective was to blow up the two shrines as soon as revolutionaries entered the city. We are not frightened by Iran and will not give any credit to it. I advise Iran, if they want their interest in Iraq, they must adjust with the current reality in Iraq. We shall not allow Iran any longer to dictate its will in Iraq. Such decisions will be made by those who control the territory and not by Iran.” 

39. On 12June 2014 a message by the Association of Muslim Scholars to Iraq’s revolutionaries distributed in 12 articles stated:

5. “The revolutionaries must be open to people and understand their problems wholeheartedly and try to resolve them.

8.  “Treatment of minorities must be good according to our religious values. The revolutionaries must present a very decent image of themselves to the world. Any restriction against the minorities must be removed. This is very important for protection of the minorities and their beliefs.

11.  “The revolutionaries’ slogan is very clear and it is the same slogan used by Prophet Mohammad when he conquered Mecca, which was forgiveness and compassion. This is what our revolutionary children did… forgiveness is the key to conquer people’s hearts. But with respect to tyrants, they will be handed over to a just judiciary system to be tried at the right time in criminal courts. A judiciary system that will not resemble in any way the sectarian and politicized judiciary set up by Maliki.…"

40. This approach continued after Maliki was set aside. Sheikh Ali Hatam Suleiman said on 15 August 2014:

“We are ready to cooperate with this government on the condition that the rights of the Sunni community are guaranteed… our priority is an immediate halt in shelling, removal of the paramilitary forces and so-called security forces from these areas, and the return of the displaced people.” He added, “If you respect our rights and there is truly a guarantee in this regard, then you just leave ISIS to us the Sunnis to take care of…

“The fact that ISIS spreads and people have gotten closer to ISIS is due to Maliki’s cruelty and dictatorship. If we want to see the issue of ISIS resolved al-Abadi must make a decision about the more than 30 Shiite militant groups that exist now and have penetrated the ministries of Defense, Interior, National Security and Intelligence. Maliki left behind these disasters…

“ISIS is a terrorist organization carrying out corrupt measures; they kill Sunnis, Shiites, Christians and everyone. However, more dangerous than ISIS are those who wear official military clothing, have the Army’s ID cards and kill and abduct whoever they want. Therefore, the revolution must be for dignity, and the government must not negotiate only with politicians. They must talk with the people who have risen and taken up arms for their rights…” (Al Arabiya – 15 August 2014)

41. On 15 October Sheikh Ali Hatam said, “Crimes committed against our children by the militants and ISIS in Sunni provinces have forced us to talk about their crimes and various methods of fighting against terrorism and to say: We had announced our readiness for the fight against ISIS along with the international coalition. However, at the same time we are requesting that this coalition take a stance regarding the militants that kill our children in cold blood in Baghdad and other provinces, right before the eyes of the government and its security organs.” (Al Tagheer TV, 15 Oct 2014)

On 20 October he said, “…I believe the solution to fundamentalism and cities that have fallen to ISIS is in the hands of the tribes and the nationalistic people, to fight and for their rights to be guaranteed… We must be in one step with the international community and we have said we will fight against ISIS, but under our own conditions and by maintaining our rights that we have risen for; for us to fight against ISIS and at the same time be the stooge of Qassem Suleimani who has destroyed our regions, is not right.” (Al Tagheer TV)

 

VI – Elections

42. Maliki preferred to postpone the elections. However, at the end of October 2013 during his visit to the US, Washington strongly demanded that he had to hold the elections by 30 April 2014. Prior to that, the Iraqi Parliament had passed a bill limiting the prime minister to two consecutive terms. However, by referring to the High Judiciary Council, which was practically his own proxy, Maliki obtained a ruling saying this bill is in contradiction with the constitution. Returning from the US he was forced to announce the elections would be held on April 30.

43. The widespread campaign of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) and National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) during Maliki’s visit to the US, revealing his role in the 1 September 2013 massacre in Camp Ashraf and other repressive measures against the PMOI, and other systematic human rights violations in Iraq, created a huge dilemma for Maliki. Through these actions the PMOI triggered the process of Maliki’s downfall. They were able to rally the US congress and the media against him in a way that in all his meetings with the US President and Vice President he was under criticism for his crackdown against Camps Ashraf and Liberty residents. Coinciding with the meeting between Maliki and Obama, a big demonstration was held outside the White House by the Iranian and Iraqi communities along with many high-profile American figures.

44. Maliki held the elections reluctantly on April 30th. However, through various measures of deception, fraud and vote rigging… his State of Law party gained 92 seats in the parliament. Most of the Iraqi political parties believed that the elections were rigged by the government. All political factions, including Shiites and Sunnis, opposed Nouri al-Maliki’s 3rd term and the US did not provide its usual all-out support for him, although it did not oppose it either. Maliki used threats, terrorism, and buying votes to form a coalition to keep him in power.

45. The fall of Mosul showed that if Maliki remained in power that would lead to the destruction of Iraq. Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the most senior Shiite leader in Iraq, started to openly oppose Maliki’s 3rd term. This made it even more difficult for Maliki and divided his group, with many in the State of Law Party starting to oppose him. Therefore, coinciding with US and coalition airstrikes against ISIS, al-Abadi was introduced as a candidate and Maliki was forced to step down.

46. Some of the measures taken by the new Iraqi Prime Minister, such as firing various Iranian regime elements and dissolving numerous bodies created by Maliki to pursue the Iranian regime’s policies in Iraq – including the Prime Minister’s Military Office and retiring several military commanders loyal to Maliki – were quite positive. However, the scope of the Iranian regime’s meddling in Iraq and its influence need more fundamental and comprehensive measures, otherwise Iran will not allow order be restored in Iraq. In fact large portions of the Iraqi community and especially the Sunnis have no motivation to support or participate in the government. They argue that conditions have not fundamentally changed and the al-Abadi government is a mirror image of Maliki with only a few changes.

47. Not getting rid of Iranian agents within the Iraqi government has allowed Maliki and the Iranian regime to obstruct al-Abadi’s efforts. Maliki’s visit to Tehran in November when he was warmly received by Khamenei and all other senior officials clearly showed that Iran is continuing to invest on him.

48. If we take a look at al-Abadi’s cabinet, it is crystal clear many of the key posts remain in the hands of the Iranian regime. Of most concern is Interior Minister Mohamed al-Ghobanm, a 9th Badr Brigade commander whose crimes are well-known to Iraqis. This is while the Interior Minister includes the command and control of the police and security forces, numbering hundreds of thousands of the armed forces. Moreover, four other posts in Maliki’s government, the Minister of Human Rights (Mohamed Mahdi al-Bayati), the Minister of Communications (Hassan Kadhem al-Rashed), the Minister of Municipalities (Abdul-Kartim Ilan) and the Minister of Sports and Youth (Abdul-Hossein Abtan), belong to the 9th Brigade and all five of them have since the 1980s and 1990s been amongst those receiving salaries from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Their names and descriptions were revealed in detail by the PMOI in 2006.

49. Falih Fayyadh, Maliki’s national security advisor, has kept his post in al-Abadi’s cabinet. He is extremely close to the Iranian regime and was fully involved in the massacre and psychological torture of Ashraf and Liberty residents in the past few years. Also apart from Maliki who has become a vice president in the new government, a number of his men from the State of Law and Dawa Party have occupied other ministries.

50. Although it is still too early to judge, but after 70 days in power al-Abadi has shown no assuring measures for the Sunnis, especially when it comes to closing a number of dossiers that were fabricated by Maliki against prominent Sunni leaders such as former Vice President Dr. Tariq al-Hashemi, former Finance Minister Dr. Rafe al-Issawi and the former Chairman of the Parliament’s Finance Committee Dr. Ahmed al-Alawani, who has been behind bars for nearly a year now. Also tens of thousands of political prisoners – including a large number of women – are in prison under the pretext of the anti-terrorism law. Releasing these prisoners, especially the women, closing the fabricated legal dossiers against Sunni leaders and the inclusion of these leaders in the political process is a necessary step to revive the trust of the Sunni community.

51. Al-Abadi has to this day not taken any positive steps to end the criminal siege on Camp Liberty, especially the medical blockade, guaranteeing the security of the residents and their right to ownership of their assets. Even some of the restrictions imposed on the residents have intensified in the past few months. During this period there has been no sign of measures to prosecute and punish the perpetrators of the six massacres in Ashraf and Liberty. To add insult to injury, the perpetrators of these killings continue to manage and control Camp Liberty. This is while respecting the rights of these refugees is a clear indication to government’s adherence to the rule of law and international conventions.

52. Al-Abadi’s visit to Iran sheds light on some aspects of his policy. He arrived in Tehran on October 21 along with his ministers of finance, oil, water resources and trade. During his 48 hours in Iran, he met Khamenei, Hassan Rouhani, Rouhani’s deputy Jahangiri, Rafsanjani, parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, Head of Judiciary Sadeq Larijani, First Deputy of the Assembly of Experts Shahroudi, the Secretary of the Security Council Shamkhani, as well as a number of religious leaders in Qom.

53. The most important subject brought up by Iranians during this visit was that he should distance himself from the United States, reduce his dependency on the U.S. army, and instead rely more on the IRGC and the Quds Force (QF). Khamenei insisted that al-Abadi should recognize that the United States is not reliable and that the relationship with Iran is strategic to both countries and that to fight ISIS, the Iraqi government has no other way but to rely on Iran. Khamenei noted that he believes the Iraqis do not need foreigners to overcome their security problems. The complex conditions of the region are such that the security of both countries is intertwined. Moreover, the Islamic Republic of Iran considers Iraq's security as its neighbour and brother with extensive links, as its own security and the issue of ISIS and terrorism have to be resolved by the countries in this region.

54. In addition to the announced meetings in Tehran, al-Abadi secretly met Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the IRGC, and a number of other IRGC officers in Qom. In this meeting the coordination with IRGC and the QF in Iraq and also in Syria and Lebanon were discussed.

55. Another subject covered in these discussions was that of the PMOI. This was brought up by Rouhani and the head of the Judiciary. They called for the expulsion of the PMOI and the extradition of a number of their leading members. The Iranian media reported: “The Prime Minister of Iraq said that the Iraqi government knows that the terrorist PMOI group has been involved in atrocities against the two nations and added: ‘It is the responsibility of the international bodies and organizations to facilitate their departure from Iraq and the government of Iraq would adopt the necessary steps in this respect and shall not allow these people to act against the Islamic Republic of Iran from Iraq's territory.”

On October 24 the Iraqi media quoted a prominent source within the government that “Prime Minister al-Abadi has ruled out the first request by Iran for the expulsion of the remaining members of the PMOI who are currently in Baghdad” and has said that “this step is not consistent with Iraq's interests and it will not assist the project to improve Iraq's standing in the Arab and West’s public opinion. Moreover, PMOI members are under the lawful supervision of UNAMI in Baghdad, but at the same time al-Abadi promised that PMOI would pose no threat to the security and sovereignty of Iran.

56. An internal Iranian regime assessment on Abadi’s trip to Tehran, unveiled by the Iranian Resistance, reads in part that Iran is calling on Abadi “when security threats come up for Iran it should be able to intervene in regions and areas, and dispatch forces into Iraq. Iran will not allow its national security be tainted, as we sent forces to Amerli or Khaneqin and This assessment adds: “We do not believe Mr. Abadi would have any problems on this issue, as we saw in the issue of Jarf al-Sakhar where the IRGC brothers practically and overtly commanded the operation, and Mr. Abadi went to the site and took photos with Suleimani at the location.”

57. The assessment continues: “Considering the current conditions, al-Abadi’s visit as his first trip was very good… today Iraq is of high value for Iran. The fact that who is ruling Iraq and what kind of thinking is ruling this country, are amongst Iran’s priorities. Especially due to the current conditions with the formation of an international coalition, Iran must support Iraq with all its might and resources, in order to maintain its influence and expand it. We must not allow the coalition to do whatever it wishes in Iraq as it did in 2003. Such conditions must not be repeated, and this time this is a red line for Iran, and the officials of the establishment have made Mr. al-Abadi understand this, and he had the utmost understanding in this regarding. This subject is important because the Sunnis and the Kurds in Iraq do not wish to see Iran play a key role in Iraq. Therefore, we must enter strongly and have hegemony in Iraq.”

 

VII –Iranian regime’s policies, role of the Quds Force, Iranian militias and the US approach

58. The Iranian regime considers the formation of an international coalition against ISIS as a threat but it also sees the current war as an opportunity, such as the wars in 1991 (liberation of Kuwait), 2001 (Afghanistan War) and 2003 (Iraq War) where it was the main victor in all of these wars. Currently the regime is working on a multi-component strategy:

It is attempting to use the unrest in the region to strengthen its militias in Iraq, in order to compensate for the blow of losing Maliki.

At the same time it attempts to reduce the consequences of the war against ISIS on Bashar Assad and even tries to use it to strengthen him.

59. Through its foreign propaganda and Western lobbies, Iran pretends to be in line with the anti-ISIS coalition. But at the same time the Quds Force commander   General Qassem Suleimani continues to warn its terrorist militias in Iraq, such as the Badr force, Asaeb Ahl al-Haq and Kataeb that:  “The US is our main enemy. The US wants to pull us into the war with ISIS. We don’t want to be pulled into this war. ISIS is not our enemy. The US is our enemy.” Khamenei himself said on June 7th, “The US is the main enemy and Takfiri movements (ISIS and al-Qaeda) are seditions… seditions should not allow us forget the main enemy.”

60. President Obama’s weak policy regarding Iranian meddling in Iraq and Syria and his unacceptable passivity and inaction towards crimes against humanity committed by Assad, have greatly benefitted the mullahs. His recent letter to Khamenei is yet another example of this naïve and destructive policy. Obama’s remarks on NBC on November 9, about the presence of Iran in Iraq and Syria, shed more light on this weak and damaging policy.

President Obama said: “Iran has influence both in Syria and in Iraq, and we do have a shared enemy in ISIL. We’re not coordinating with Iran on ISIL. There’s some de-conflicting in the sense that since they have some troops or militias they control in and around Baghdad, we let them know, don’t mess with us, we’re not here to mess with you, we’re focused on common our enemy.”

Regarding Bashar Assad, President Obama said: “Obviously, our priority is to go after ISIL and so what we have said is that we are not engaging in a military action against the Syrian regime, we are going after ISIS facilities and personnel who are using Syria as a safe haven in service of our strategy in Iraq. We do want to see a political settlement inside of Syria. That’s a long-term proposition. We can’t solve that militarily nor are we trying to.”

These remarks can be seen as a green light to Iran and Bashar Assad to continue their atrocities.

61. Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of the Supreme Security Council of Iran, went to Damascus to meet Assad a few days after the airstrikes were launched against ISIS in Syria on 30 September 2014 .A report published by the Iranian Resistance on this trip reads in part, “There is this concern that if the Americans can restrain ISIS and strengthen the Free Syrian Army, the current trend will turn against ISIS. Therefore, Shamkhani in his trip to Syria ‘discussed in detail Bashar Assad’s approach to airstrikes to take advantage of them’ with Bashar Assad and other Syrian officials.” Based on this report, following the airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, the morale of Bashar Assad and his commanders became very low and shaky, and Shamkhani’s trip was quite necessary to boost their morale. Through Shamkhani the Iranian regime wanted to “send a message to the US that Iran is continuing to support Assad with all its might”.  The report added that the intelligence provided by Washington to the Assad regime on the airstrikes against ISIS were directly sent to Iran.

62. Iran and its affiliated militias are active in various regions near Baghdad; in Diyala Province bordering Iran; and in various areas of Salahadin, especially the city of Samarra under the pretext of protecting the two shrines of Shiite imams. In regions that ISIS has been weakened due to US airstrikes, these militias and the Quds Force have replaced them. The Iranian backed militias have committed numerous crimes in recent years.  As General Petraeus has very correctly said, the US is practically acting as the terrorist Quds forces’ air force.

63. The Jarf Al-Sakhar operation in the south of Iraq is a good example of how Iran uses the US Air Force to secure its influence.

The Washington Post reported on October 25 on the operations of the Iraqi government forces in Jarf al-Sakhar. They quoted a security official involved in the operation as stating: “We were sent so many reinforcements. Those reinforcements were largely from Shiite militias backed by Iran, including the Badr Brigade and Asaib Ahl al-Haq”. On his television channel, Badr Brigade commander Hadi al-Ameri claimed to have led the operation with the country’s new Interior Minister, who is a member of his party. “All the weapons we are using are Iranian, and we are proud of that”, said a fighter with Kitaeb Hezbollah.

The Iranian state-run ISNA news agency reported on October 26th, “… this operation began on the evening of Friday, 24 October 2014, dubbed as ‘Ashura’ in which the strategically important Jarf al-Sakhar region north of Babel Province was liberated. General Suleimani, commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, has been seen these days at the front lines of the battle in Jarf al-Sakhar.”

Al-Tagheer TV cited Lebanon’s al-Mustaqbel daily, “…Qassem Suleimani, along with former Iraqi Transportation Minister Hadi al-Ameri, commander of the Badr militants, and Abu Mahdi al-Mohandess, are present in the Jarf al-Sakhar operations theatre supervising the ‘Imam Ali’ battalions. Militants of the Hezbollah, Asaeb Ahl al-Haq and Badr corps, along with a small force of the Iraqi Army, participated in this operation.”

64. Being assured of inaction by the U.S. and European countries over its growing meddling in Iraq, the Iranian regime rattled its sabres and informed of the extensive presence of the Quds Force in Iraq. The Fars news agency of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) reported on October 28, “The Islamic Republic of Iran’s long arm, being the IRGC Quds Force, with its advisory and arms support, was able to first prevent the fall of Iraq in its entirety, and in the next stage liberate Iraqi cities and areas, one after another, from the control of terrorists forces with the support of the Iraqis. Qassem Suleimani was present from the north to the centre areas, and anywhere there were military clashes that resulted in victories. Iraqi forces consider Suleimain’s presence, and that of his forces, as the factor behind their victory.”

This news agency added that Iran’s goal is to “build up its national security outside of its borders” and by emphasizing the fact that General John Allen in an interview with CNN had: “recognized Iran’s role in the fight against ISIS and said Iran can have a constructive role”, this news agency added General Allen “did not imagine with the weapons and air force of regional and international countries he would actually be in the shadow of Qassem Suleimani, who is leading the front against ISIS and the victory over this takfiri terrorist group.”

65. Prior to Jarf Al-Sakhar, the war was carried out by US fighters from the air and militias affiliated to Tehran on the ground. The scope of the militias’ atrocities in this area is unimaginable. On 8 September, Al-Arabiya TV broadcast a video of the crimes of Shiite militias affiliated to the Quds Force after taking over Amerli, killing Sunnis under the name of ISIS, holding three of their heads in their hands.

66. On 14 October 2014 Amnesty International announced that Shiite militias, being supported and armed by the Iraqi government, have abducted and killed many Sunni citizens.

This report entitled “Absolute Impunity: Militia’s Rule in Iraq”, published shocking details of attacks that were carried out by Shiite militias - whose strength increases by the day in Baghdad, Samara and Kirkuk - that were seemingly carried out in retaliation to the attacks of a group that called itself ISIS.

This report states that many unidentified bodies were found across Iraq, whose hands were tied behind their backs and were shot execution style in the head.

67. In recent months thousands of Sunni prisoners have been massacred by militias in different prisons, and large Sunni populations have been displaced from areas with a Shiite majority. On the days of 23 to 27 July, during attacks on Sunni villages in the Diyala Province, Asaeb kidnapped a number of Sunni youths and quickly executed them. These executions were carried out by tying the victims’ hands and legs and shooting them in the head and chest. On 28 July, Jamil Shemmeri (close to Maliki), Commander of the Diyala Police, ordered that the victims’ bodies be hung up from street poles in the city of Baquba (Diyala Province). These scenes were meant to frighten the Sunni inhabitants and force them to leave Diyala Province.

68. On 24 August 2014, Asaeb militias, by attacking the Masab Bin Amir Mosque in Diyala, massacred 70 Sunni worshipers. Among those killed were a number of children.  On 2 November 2014, Human Rights Watch held pro-government militias and security forces responsible for a deadly attack on a Sunni mosque in the Diyala Province in August. Eyewitnesses say that the attackers were Shiite and some were wearing police uniforms.

69. Reuters wrote in a 12 November detailed investigative report: “Tehran has built up its influence in the past decade by giving political backing to the Iraqi government, and weapons and advisers to the militias and the remnants of the Iraqi military, say current and former Iraqi officials.

“That was clear this summer, when fighters from all three militias took on IS. During IS’s siege of one town, Amerli, Kataeb Hezbollah helicoptered in 50 of its best fighters, according to Abu Abdullah, a local Kataeb Hezbollah commander. The fighters set up an operations room to coordinate with the Iraqi army, the other militia groups, and advisers from the Quds Force. Over days of fierce fighting in August, and with the help of U.S. bombing raids – a rare example of Iran and the United States fighting a common enemy – those forces successfully expelled IS. Iraq’s Shi’ite militias have certainly fueled sectarian violence. In the past few months they have taken revenge on Sunnis thought to be sympathetic to IS, burned homes and threatened to stop Sunnis returning to their towns. Shi’ite fighters have kidnapped or killed civilians, say Sunni family members. Alongside Asaeb Ahl al-Haq, there are the Badr Brigades, formed in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq War, and the younger and more secretive Kataeb Hezbollah. The three militias have been instrumental in battling Islamic State (IS), the extremist movement from Islam’s rival Sunni sect. Coordinating the three is Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani.”

70. A former Maliki associate described to Reuters in detail the Iranian regime’s plan in Iraq:

“The American approach is to leave Iraq to the Iraqis,” said Sami al-Askari, a former member of Iraq’s parliament and one-time senior adviser to former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. “The Iranians don’t say leave Iraq to the Iraqis. They say leave Iraq to us.” The danger, Iraqi officials say, is that Iran’s deep influence will perpetuate sectarian conflict in Iraq. Many Iraqi Sunnis complain that Maliki, who was Iraq’s leader until he was forced out in August, was beholden to Tehran and prevented Sunnis from getting greater political power. The way Iran and Soleimani work is “completely the opposite of Saudi intelligence that just gives money but is not on the ground,” said the current senior Iraqi official. “Suleimani sees a target and he has the powers to go after it.”

71. The Badr organization is the main organization affiliated to the IRGC Quds Force in Iraq. The Iranian regime carries out many of its terrorist plots in Iraq through this organization. It is also being used to give military and logistical support to Bashar Assad.

During Maliki’s’ second term, Hadi Ameri, commander of the Badr force, as Minister of Transportation, had the main role in sending weapons and equipment from Iran to Syria through Iraq. Ameri receives his orders from Suleimani. The central office of the Badr organization is in the Jaderia area in Baghdad.

72. In a 17 September 2014 statement, the Badr Organization announced: “Since day one, our path has been towards the battle fronts under the Sharia obligations of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, leader of the Islamic Revolution. Prior to the issuance of a fatwa by senior clergyman Ali Sistani, we fought in the two fronts of Syria and Al-Anbar in Iraq. After this fatwa the military wing began implementing this fatwa by mobilizing the people. This was consistent with the law and an organized management in taking it within the security forces under the name of people’s mobilization. We were successful in organizing and entering the people’s force in the battlefronts under a strong military command. We liberated cities one after the other with government weapons and equipment. …As we stated, today we are under the orders of the vali-e faqih (supreme leader) and we will definitely not take part in a coalition with the US.”

73. History of the Badr Organization:

In 1984 the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps deployed Iraqis in Iran to form a battalion to participate in the Iran-Iraq War in the so-called Kheibar Operation.

After this operation, Ismael Daghayeghi, an IRGC commander in Khuzestan Province, organized these forces as a brigade and named it the Badr Brigade and the first commander was Daghayeghi himself. He was killed later in the Iran-Iraq War.

In 1985 the 9th Badr Brigade was joined to the Ramadan Base, which at that time was the IRGC headquarters of non-conventional warfare. In all three fronts of the war – west, southwest and central – they were placed under the command of IRGC Ground Forces and actively took part in the war against Iraq.

In 1987 the 9th Badr Brigade was turned into the 9th Badr Division, acting as one of the Iraqi opposition groups, it fought in non-conventional warfare inside Iraq under the command of the Ramadan Base.

In 1988 the mullahs dispatched the 9th Badr Division, along with other IRGC divisions and their army to fight the PMOI. As confirmed by the Badr Division command, 109 of their personnel were killed in these clashes.

In September 1991, the 9th Badr Division was turned into the Badr Corps and was directly attached to the IRGC Ground Forces and until the fall of the previous Iraqi regime in 2003 it was used by Iran as an extra territorial force under the ‘Quds Force’ against Iraq.

From 1991 to 2001 the Badr force carried out 134 terrorist operations against PMOI members in Iraq.

74. The Badr force entered Iraq after the beginning of the US invasion in 2003 and took over government buildings in various cities and began setting up offices to recruit new forces. In each province Badr began rounding up weapons and hiding them in various warehouses. On 17 October 2003 the Badr Corps was transformed into the “Badr Organization for Development and Prosperity”. The goal was to decrease the Americans’ sensitivity over the Badr Corps as a military force and portray them as if they are no longer involved in military activities. However, in practice with the formation of the Iraqi security forces such as the ministries of Defense and Interior, all operational elements were gathered in these units and they organized their new forces in popular units as the ‘Ansar-e Badr’, and from the very beginning provided these units with military training and arms.

75. From the very beginning the 9th Badr Brigade began forming an operational organ with the objective of terrorizing and purging dissidents and conducting special attacks on coalition forces. This organ’s mission, organization and elements were kept in secret. During the past decade this terrorist organization – considering its influence in government– collected intelligence on dissidents unhappy about the Iranian regime’s meddling in Iraq and gave that information to the Quds Force to assassinate them.

76. Hadi Ameri is the head of the Badr Organization and was Minister of Transportation in the cabinet of Maliki. He has now become a member of parliament. He is also the commander of the Diyala front. His other names are Hadi Farhan Abdullah al-Ameri, aka Abu Hassan Ameri. He has an Iranian ID card and his Iranian name is Hassan Ameri. His wife is also Iranian. Ameri joined the Badr Organization back in 1986 and finished his training in the Military Command College of the Revolutionary Guards’ Imam Hossein University.

77. On November 2012 Reuters wrote about Badr Organization:  “Iran's oldest proxy in Iraq is the Badr Brigades, which is headed by Hadi al-Ameri, a veteran of both combat and politics. The group renamed itself the Badr Organisation once it entered politics. Ameri fought alongside Iran's Revolutionary Guard against Saddam's army during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. After the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, he won a seat in parliament and served as Minister of Transportation during Maliki's second term. Ameri, who could not be reached for comment, is feared and loathed by many Sunnis for his alleged role in running death squads in recent years. In July, Human Rights Watch accused Badr forces of killing Sunni prisoners. In recent battles with ISIS, Ameri replaced his suit with a military uniform and transformed into a battlefield commander overnight, giving television interviews from the frontlines. Look at Ameri's uniform and then compare it to any Iraqi uniform ... It's completely different," said a senior former security official. "Look for the uniform of the IRGC" – Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps - "it's exactly one of them."

 

VIII- Conclusions & necessary steps

78. Defeating ISIS is a political task more than a military task. The military operation will not bear fruit without uprooting the political and social foundation of this phenomenon. Even if military achievements are made, the problem will not be solved and could easily re-emerge.

79. Iran’s constant interference in Iraqi affairs and its active support for Bashar Assad have been the most important cause for the formation and growth of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Iran is part of the problem. Therefore, the US must prevent Iran’s interference in Iraq and distance itself from any type of cooperation or partnership and participation of Iran in the coalition.

80. The US and the coalition should avoid involving the pro-Iran militias in the war against ISIS and instead should try to neutralize them. Taking advantage of US air strikes by these militias to occupy various regions, such as what happened at Amerli or Jerf al-Sakhar, only gives ammunition to ISIS’s propaganda and will further push the Sunnis in that direction.

81. The US and the coalition should quickly enter negotiations with the real representatives of the tribes and Sunni community, especially those who had not participated in the political process and were at war with Maliki. They must get the necessary assurances to be able to enter the war against ISIS.

82. The Iraqi government must immediately take action to cleanse various government bodies, including the administration and its ministries, the army and security forces and the police, from Iran’s agents or militia groups. This is especially important for the security forces. Otherwise there will be no prospect for the true participation of the Sunnis in the political process.

83. The April elections were held in an unfair and undemocratic atmosphere. In addition to the massive vote rigging and fraud by Maliki, the Sunni regions had very limited participation in the votes. Therefore, the Sunni communities’ participation in the government should not be restricted to those who are present in the parliament. The Prime Minister al-Abadi should welcome those Sunni leaders who were not in the political process before, as they were at war with Maliki.

84. The Iraqi judiciary, which during the past 10 years has gradually turned into a tool in the hands of Maliki and Iran, must be restored to become fully independent from the executive branch.

85. Legal dossiers fabricated by Maliki against Sunni leaders such as Dr. Tariq al-Hashemi, Dr. Rafe al-Issawi and Dr. Ahmed al-Alawani must be closed. These leaders must be brought back into the political process and all political prisoners – especially the women – must be released and executions must be halted.

86. Those involved in plundering, stealing and crimes against the Iraqi people and in massacres such as in Hawija (23 Aril 2013), Ashraf (1 Sep 2013) and Diyala Ebn Omeir Mosque (22 Aug 2014), must be prosecuted and punished.

87. The security, safety and the rights of the Iranian refugees in Camp Liberty must be guaranteed; their ownership over their property in Ashraf and Liberty must be respected and perpetrators of previous crimes against them must be brought to justice.

While expressing our gratitude to the steps taken so far by Prime Minister al-Abadi in line with the points stressed in this report, the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA) is fully aware that the abovementioned measures will be met by threats and obstruction by the Iranian regime and its proxies in Iraq. However, without these brave actions, overcoming the current crisis that has threatened the very existence of Iraq would be impossible. We will not hesitate to provide any assistance that is in our capacity to obtain these objectives for a free and stable Iraq.

 

Struan Stevenson

President of the European Iraqi freedom Association

President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009-2014)


 

European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA),  1050 Brussels, Belgium

Webwww.eu-iraq.org/        Facebookwww.facebook.com/EuIraq        Twitterwww.twitter.com/EuIraq

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