US forces detain Iranian ‘agent’ near Baghdad

Coalition special operations forces captured a suspected Iranian “agent” and an associate during an early morning raids north of Baghdad, Multinational Forces Iraq reported.

The Iranian is described as a “commander of Iranian special operations in Iraq who is also believed to be involved in facilitating training of Iraqi militants at Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force training camps.”

The raids took place in the town of Qastin in Diyala province. The Iranian agent then led US forces to his associate.

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 US forces have killed one Qods Force operative and captured 11 since mid-October.

Qods Force has supported various Shia militias and terror groups inside Iraq, including the Mahdi Army, helping to build the groups 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 detained 11 Hezbollah Brigades operatives in and around Baghdad since December 1.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • David M says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 12/19/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  • AOP says:

    Iran is acting up, North Korea is in a dangerous transitional period, Russia is sending battleships to Venezuela and Cuba, and China is lecturing us on economics.
    Sweet. The good news is that the World Bank says that if oil prices go any lower, Russia will need a bailout.

  • Rosario says:

    Has there any official reaction from the Iraqi government concerning these detentions? I am curious if the GoI will release these people, like the previous Iranian “businessman” caught leaving the country at Bagdad airport. That would be disturbing considering our troops are risking their lives to detain them.

  • crosspatch says:

    I concur with Rosario. I fail to see the point in the current “catch and release” program that the Iraqi government seems to be following.
    It would seem like the position of “”commander of Iranian special operations in Iraq” is a rather safe position to hold and one risks only being sent back to Iran if caught.
    I wonder how things might change if secular parties make significant gains over the religious slates in January’s elections.

  • Northstar says:

    The cost associated with Iran being active in Iraq needs to be raised or maybe we need to be active in IRAN with our own people. Iran is playing a dangerous game. A sensitive economy defendant ona high price of oil and lots of imported gasoline. What would a major refinery “accident” in Iran do to the Iranian economy? people that live in glass hosues should not throw stones.

  • crosspatch says:

    I believe Iran currently has 7 major refinery projects nearing completion including the world’s largest ethylene plant. They also have at least one refinery project underway in Venezuela. These would represent more capacity than Iran would need for domestic consumption leading one to suspect they might be changing from exporting crude to exporting finished product.
    But Iran’s influence in Iraq would wane if more secular political groups gain power there. If the secular slates do well in the upcoming provincial elections next month, it wouldn’t bode well for the religious national slates when the next parliamentary elections are held which I believe should be in December of 2009.
    If Shiite religious tickets lose a considerable amount of their power, the Iranians might consider that a major failure of their foreign policy.

  • Mark Pyruz says:

    “Islamic Republican Guard Corps-Qods Force training camps”
    What is the Islamic Republican Guard Corps? Is this supposed to the IRGC? If so, it is the Revolutionary Guards.
    It will be interesting to see if this detainee is cleared as in the case of the previous detention. In that case, the detainee was cleared and released. His actions were described by the Iraqi government as legiitimate.
    In my opinion, this type of Iranian-Shia Iraqi cooperation is certain to expand upon US withdrawl from Iraq.
    [Article corrected, thank you.]


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