More shocking news: Iran backs Shia terror groups in Iraq

A US military map of Iran’s operations inside southern Iraq, from 2007. This map formed the basis of the LWJ report, The Ramazan Corps and the ratlines into Iraq. Click to view full size.

In case you are curious why the release of the Wikileaks documents pertaining to Afghanistan, and now Iraq, have sparked little more that a collective yawn here at The Long War Journal, the answer is that the documents are not likely to tell us anything we don’t already know. For instance, the big stories to come out of the Afghanistan documents were that Pakistani intelligence and Iran support the Taliban, and that the US/NATO special operations “Task Force” conducts covert operations against the Taliban and al Qaeda. The reality is that these are things The Long War Journal and other media outlets have covered in depth long before the document dump.

Now, the Iraq document dump is underway, and it is likely to yield very, very few surprises. Take, for instance, this New York Times report on Iranian support for the Mahdi Army and the other Shia terror groups in Iraq. Almost three years ago, in December 2007, I wrote Iran’s Ramazan Corps and the ratlines into Iraq, which documented almost exactly what is in that NYT report. And the ratlines article was partially a compilation of what I’d guess is nearly 100 stories written on Iran’s involvement in Iraq, plus some new information on the actual structure of the Ramazan Corps. Even more stories on this very topic have been published at LWJ since December 2007.

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

Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.


  • Charu says:

    Here’s your next headline: US foreign policy makers shockingly naive.
    After messing up in Iraq and leaving the Iranians in a stronger position in the region, we are headed to give up Afghanistan to the Pakistanis. At this rate can ceding the Pacific Ocean to China be far away?

  • Neo says:

    The authors of this New York Times article pretty much emphatically state that intelligence on the ground fully supports your version of events from three years ago. Not a surprise to long time readers, since we knew all along that your information came from public sources corroborated from people near the action. It now becomes very difficult to disregard those claims as coming from an administration shill or similar lame excuses.
    Don’t get the idea that you’re going to change many minds at this point though. Now that you have become legitimate, and largely correct, your views will be declared irrelevant in the larger scheme of things. The very activists, who don’t respect your views, are in a position to write this generation’s policy reviews and history books. I hate to be cynical but you are swimming against the current. But you knew that when you started.
    For many with an activist viewpoint, the details have always been secondary. To them the political outcomes are immutable, and the larger narrative already a set certainty. Relevant detail can be filled in later. Maybe I shouldn’t be quite so cynical, there are bound to be a few policy writers who aren’t still stuck in the midst of the mid 20th century post imperial world and the Vietnam debacle.

  • KnightHawk says:

    “Not a surprise to long time readers”

    No it certainly wasn’t, reading the headlines over this I kept saying to myself…err big deal we’ve known this for years now, at least those that were paying attention and reading this site.

  • Don Vandervelde says:

    The big news would be that the Iraqis were retaliating, and we were backing them up!


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram