The Iraqi government launched a new offensive against the Islamic State in the Hawijah pocket earlier today. Hawijah is considered one of the group’s two remaining strongholds inside Iraq. The other is in the western Anbar province, where the Iraqi government began new operations on Sept. 19.
The Iraqi government announced the liberation of Tal Afar in northern Iraq earlier today. The offensive to retake the city began on Aug. 20 and progressed quickly. Three Iraqi army divisions, the Counterterrorism Service, Federal Police, the Popular Mobilization Forces and Kurdish Regional Government Peshmerga all took part and were backed by the US-led coalition.
Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve said that Iraq’s Iranian-backed militias “deserve a share of the credit for their sacrifices” in the battle to liberate Mosul, yet calls for Iraqis to unite to prevent the return of the Islamic State.
Along with Iran, Hezbollah helped the PMF “with training and planning, and with weapons and equipment” to the Popular Mobilization Forces with the knowledge of Iraq’s prime minister, according to Abu Mahdi al Muhandis.
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.
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 Iranian-backed Iraqi Shia militia has shown off a considerable troop deployment to the frontlines of Aleppo just days after Iranian media reported the move.
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.