Iraqi police and border guards have arrested seven members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps since Oct 18. The arrests come as the senior US commander in Iraq accused Iran of attempting to bribe Iraqi members of parliament to vote against the status of forces agreement that will allow US forces to remain in Iraq past 2008.
Iraqi police captured three armed Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps officers today in the city of Al Kut in Wasit province, a police official told Voices of Iraq. “Three Iraqi Revolutionary Guards along with their guide were detained on the border region between Iraq and Iran in eastern Wasit after entering Iraq illegally,” said Police Major Aziz Latief al Imara. “The forces seized amounts of ammunitions found in their possession.”
On Oct. 18, Iraqi border guards captured four more members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps in the Mandali district in Diyala province. “A force from the 4th contingent of the Iraqi border brigade in Diyala province arrested last night four members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard inside the Iraqi territories,” an anonymous official told Voices of Iraq. “The four were in military uniform with guns in their possession and were moving within the Iraqi territories.”
The seven Iranians were likely members of Qods Force, the elite special operations branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. The unit reports directly to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader.
Qods Force has supported various Shia militias and terror groups inside Iraq, including the Mahdi Army, which it helped build along the same lines as Lebanese Hezbollah. Iran denies the charges, but captive Shia terrorists admit to being recruited by Iranian agents, and then transported into Iran for training.
Iran established the Ramazan Corps immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime to direct operations inside Iraq. The US military says Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah have helped establish, fund, train, and arm, and have provided operational support for Shia terror groups such as the Hezbollah Brigades and the League of the Righteous. The US military refers to these groups as well as the Iranian-backed elements of the Mahdi Army as the “Special Groups.” These groups train in camps inside Iran.
US and Iraqi forces have captured several high-level Qods Force officers inside Iraq since late 2006. Among those captured are Mahmud Farhadi, one of the three Iranian regional commanders in the Ramazan Corps; Ali Mussa Daqduq, a senior Lebanese Hezbollah operative; Qais Qazali, the leader of the Qazali Network; and Azhar al Dulaimi, one of Qazali’s senior tactical commanders. The US has imposed sanctions on Major General Ahmad Foruzandeh, the former Qods Force commander, and Abdul Reza Shahlai, a deputy commander in Iran’s Qods Force, for backing Shia terror groups inside Iraq.
Iraqi and Coalition forces have maintained the pressure on the Iranian-backed terror groups operating inside Iraq during the month of October. Two Iranian-trained Special Groups fighters have been killed and fifty-six have been captured during since Oct. 1, according to numbers compiled by The Long War Journal. Thirty-three have been captured since Oct. 13.
Eleven of those captured were members of the Hezbollah Brigades. The Hezbollah Brigades is an Iranian-backed terror group that has been behind multiple roadside bombings and rocket attacks against US and Iraqi forces in Baghdad. The group films these attacks and posts them on the internet. More than 40 Hezbollah Brigades operatives have been captured since the beginning of August. The group is estimated at having several hundred members.
For more information on Iran’s involvement in supporting the Shia terror groups in Iraq, see:
Jan. 14, 2007
Jan. 26, 2007
July 2, 2007
Sept. 18, 2007
Oct. 3, 2007
Dec. 5, 2007
June 13, 2008
June 15, 2008
June 26, 2008
July 2, 2008
Sept. 16, 2008
Sept. 27, 2008