Iran has its tentacles all over Iraq, and the United States has no one to blame but itself. It is a bipartisan failure dating back to the March 2003 invasion. The seeds of this failure can be seen in the interrogation transcripts of Qayis Khazali, the leader of the Mahdi Army’s Special Groups and Asaib Ahl al Haq.
A newly released interrogation report shows that Qayis al-Khazali identified Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Abu Mustafa al-Sheibani as the two individuals Iran trusted “the most with attempting to implement the Iranian agenda in Iraq.” The pair went from being marginal players shortly after the US-led invasion in 2003 to leading the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces, one of most powerful and influential military organizations in Iraq.
Various Shia militias from around the Middle East have expressed their support or condolences for the Iranian-backed Hezbollah Brigades, which was targeted in unclaimed airstrikes in eastern Syria on Sunday.
The standoff between the police and Hezbollah Brigades may portend an upcoming power struggle between Iraq’s established security forces and the Iranian-supported Shia militias that make up the Popular Mobilization Units.
Several groups within the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps network have eulogized Saleh al Sammad, the political leader of Yemen’s Houthis.
The report also notes that the US State Department has pressed the Iraqi government for the return of the tanks, but this has not happened.
At least 11 rocket launchers, four howitzers (including two US-made M198 howitzers), one American-made M1 Abrams, and one US M88 Recovery Vehicle were spotted in a Hezbollah Brigades convoy moving towards Mosul.
The Hezbollah Brigades will likely join other Iranian-backed groups in the fighting for Fallujah when the operation to recapture the city officially begins.