Iran’s IRGC takes charge in Iraq of defending Shi’ite sectors

WASHINGTON-( worldtribune)— The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has taken over Iranian policy in neighboring Iraq, a report said.

The American Enterprise Institute asserted that IRGC’s Quds Force was now responsible for Teheran’s interests in Iraq.

In a report, the institute identified Quds Force commander Brig. Gen. Qassem Suleimani as the organizer of the defense of Shi’ite communities in Iraq, including Baghdad, from an invasion by Al Qaida’s Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Quds Force commander Brig. Gen. Qassem Suleimani

“His first priority will be to coordinate with the other elements of the IRGC and the regular Iranian Army to prevent the Iraqi conflict from spilling into the Iranian homeland,” the report, titled “The Non-negotiables: What Iran and Qassem Suleimani Have to Do in Iraq,” said.

“The establishment of a 100 kilometer ‘do not cross’ line illustrates that the Iranians are ready to take pre-emptive operations to defend their border from any outside threat.”

Authors Matthew McInnis and Ashton Gilmore said Suleimani has shifted into “full crisis mode” as ISIL fighters advanced toward Baghdad. They said Suleimani’s priority was to defend Shi’ite communities and holy sites throughout Iraq, with the stress on Baghdad, Karbala, Najaf and Samara.

The report, dated June 16, said Suleimani was trying to mobilize Shi’ites to fight ISIL as well as maintain the friendly Baghdad government of Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki. Gilmore and McInnis dismissed the

prospect that Iran would tolerate ISIL control over any part of Iraq.

Another goal for Suleimani was said to maintain the war against Sunni rebels in Syria. The report said this could include an offensive against ISIL in northern Syria.

“Like in Syria, Teheran, under Suleimani’s direction, will go to almost any length in Iraq to protect its vital national and revolutionary interests, which includes ensuring the U.S. does not come out of this crisis in a stronger position, either in Baghdad or the region,” the report  said.

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