Iran backs three Shia terror groups in Iraq: General Odierno
The top US general in Iraq has identified the three main Shia terror groups in Iraq that are backed by Iran.
General Ray Odierno said Iran continues to back the League of the Righteous (or Asaib al Haq), the Mahdi Army spin-off Promise Day Brigade, and the Hezbollah Brigades (or Kataib Hezbollah).
"The Iranians... continue to fund, train and provide weapons and ammunition to Shiite extremist groups," Odierno told reporters in Baghdad according to AFP. Qods Force, the special operations branch of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, has "gone to a more sophisticated program with a smaller set of extremists" by narrowing down the number of Shia terror groups it supports.
Odierno acknowledged the debate over whether Iranian support for the three main Shia terror groups in Iraq includes backing by the highest levels of Iran's government.
"It's very difficult to say if the extremist groups are directly connected to the Iranian government," Odierno said. "But we do know that many of them live in Iran, many of them get trained in Iran, and many of them get weapons from Iran."
The IRGC reports directly to the top of Iran's government: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The IRGC is tasked with defending the Islamic Revolution inside Iran while exporting the radical ideology to neighboring countries and worldwide.
Muqtada al Sadr, the leader of the Mahdi Army and its Promise Day Brigade, lives in Qom in Iran.
The League of the Righteous, the Promise Day Brigade, and the Hezbollah Brigades carry out attacks against US and Iraqi forces as well as against Iraqi leaders who threaten Iran's agenda in Iraq. These groups film their attacks against US forces and post them on the Internet.
General Odierno's statements yesterday on Iranian support of Shia terror groups in Iraq marks the second time in eight days that he has pointed the finger at Iraq's neighbor. On July 13 Odierno said fighters and leaders from Hezbollah Brigades have been training in Iran and are now returning to Iraq to step up attacks.
For more information on Iran's support of Shia terror groups in Iraq, see Iranian-backed Shia terror group remains a threat in Iraq: General Odierno.