The establishment of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) is an extension of Iran’s plan to export the revolution, which keeps war against Sunni extremists from reaching the country’s borders, a senior adviser to the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force argues.
The Popular Mobilization Forces continues to flex its military muscles in Iraq. The PMF has surrounded Tal Afar and has promised it would lead the offensive to retake the city, despite Iraqi and US claims that the group would only operate in rural areas of western Mosul.
The anti-Islamic State coalition, which includes Kurdish, Sunni, and Shiite militias, has begun the operation to retake Mosul. Iranian-backed Shiite militias are expected to play a key role in the upcoming battle.
The Iraqi Prime Minister’s order will establish Iraq’s own IRGC, institutionalizing Tehran’s influence in the country. This development follows similar trends in Iran and Lebanon.
A senior advisor to the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps – Qods Force vowed that Iranian forces would continue to fight in Iraq and Syria until the last Islamic State and “takfiri” fighters are killed. The statement signals the entrenchment of Iranian military assets in Iraq and Syria and the two countries continue to be mired in civil wars.
The discussions reportedly centered around the Taliban’s commitment to preventing the Islamic State from expanding, “especially in Afghanistan’s northeastern border and the Afghanistan-Tajikistan border.” The Taliban and Iran have colluded since the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
Foreign Minister Ibrahim Jafari defended Qassem Soleimani’s role in bolstering sectarian militias that have often acted outside of the law in Iraq as they battle the Islamic State.
Senior Iraqi Shia militia leader Abu Mahdi al Muhandis told a reporter that the second phase of the Fallujah operation was imminent. He criticized US airstrikes in Fallujah and announced his forces were prepared to enter the city if requested.