Releasing Iranian-backed terrorists is hard to get used to

The release of members and leaders of the Iranian-backed Asaib al Haq (League of the Righteous) has several of the military and intelligence folks I speak with up in arms. I’m not sure I passed along the depth of their despair when I reported on this earlier this week. Not a single person I spoke to had a positive thing to say about the release of these operatives at this time, and the release of Mahmoud Farhadi, the senior Qods Force officer, has them up in arms. I could feel the frustration building in early July, when one official said that “you’d better get used to it.” The officials are very worried that releasing these operatives before Baghdad is fully stabilized can feed a potential surge in violence in Baghdad.

And just as the US announced it was going to release the more than 300 members of the Asaib al Haq, a major truck bombing and mortar attack hit Baghdad. Omar at Iraq The Model translated an Azzaman article that claimed the Special Groups was behind the mortar attack:

Special Groups acting on orders from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were behind Wednesday’s indirect fire attacks against government targets, Azzaman reports.

The newspaper says security sources in Baghdad revealed that a Special Group led by a person named Haji Mehdi al-Kinani was responsible for firing rockets and mortars at the Green Zone and other government targets yesterday. The group reportedly operates from the Hay Ur district in northeastern Baghdad.

While Azzaman isn’t always the best source of information, this does ring true. The Special Groups/Mahdi Army/Asaib al Haq have launched numerous mortar and rocket attacks. The US and Iraqi push to secure the southern 1/3 of Sadr City in April 2008 was partly designed to push the mortar teams out of range of the Green Zone (International Zone).

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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