Tehran, Dec. 22 - Iran's intervention in Iraq means that it will counterectalise the internal unrest for the Iranian government. The actions come as Tehran seeks to keep its deep influence with the country, albeit in tense negotiations with the United States.
Some of the government's highest-ranking leaders blamed on Iran-backed groups for an attack on the prime minister's house last month.
One of Tehrans most senior military commanders, Brigadier General Esmail Ghaani, arrived in Baghdad, according to militia officials, Iraqi politicians and the western diplomats familiar with the talks. Ghaani a message for pro-Iranian militias refusing to acknowledge initial results of Oct. 10 elections in which the populist candidate opposed to Iranian influence was the leading voter-winner.
Ghaani, commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), who is the head of foreign military operations, told the leaders of two militias that petty politics is threatening the power of the Shi'ite majority, whose rulers are powerled by which Iran has its influence, according to the people familiar with the meeting.
The attack on the residence of the Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Nov. 7 marked a sudden escalation of tensions in recent months between the competing Shiite groups. Kadhimi has joined Sadr, but lost dozens of seats in the parliamentary bloc of factions related to pro-Tehran militias seized the election.
When Ghaani was presented with a meeting in a stern office for a politician with a strong Iran-backed mind in Baghdad, the two leaders of hugely important militias blamed in the election rage, criticizing them for blaming them for their failure to support the military leaders. The meeting was said to be described to Reuters by one of the militia's official who knows directly of the encounter, and even two politicians who were briefed about the meeting. Ghaani, who was
The militia official said that Iranians were angry. He said that one official asked: Do you want an irani civil war? The official declined to identify the Iranian who made those remarks.
Four others, two Western diplomats and a security officer who were briefed on the meeting said that Ghaani was the author of the proceedings, and all of these sources gave similar accounts, saying Ghaani told the Iranian-backed groups to stop fuelling unrest in Iraq.
The Iranian government, which condemned the Nov. 7 attack at that time, did not respond to questions raised for this article. The Revolutionary Guards did not respond to written inquiries. The government did not respond by phone for this article.
Reuters didn't receive replies to questions for Ghaani, which was sent via the Iranian government and IRGC. Iranian state media have reported that Ghaani has visited Iraq following the attack but provided few details of his activities there.
The Iraqi pms office did not respond to a request for comment.
Iran has been providing information over recent visits to Baghdad, the latest of many interventions in the past year to try and counteract spiritual violence against Shiits, which would be disastrous for the rest of the country. Iran also has a militia allies, and has also been responsible for in Iraq.
The intra-Shiite disputes in Iraq come as an unwelcome distraction for Tehran as it talks directly to Washington about the future of a nuclear deal. That pact, which was torn up by former President Donald Trump, gave Iran relief from economic sanctions in return for limiting his nuclear program.
The visit provides a rare insight into the Iraq-related activities of Ghaani, who was head of the Quds, the arm of the IRGC that controls the allied militias abroad.
In January 2020, he began the task of assisting his predecessor, Qassem Soleimani, in a drone strike, a task that aided the militias, and in some cases, Iran had better manage the situation, according to the militia leaders, the diplomats of the western nations and the security source.
Originally, Tehran's military and political allies began with the aid of the Iranian regime and finally a broader military arm - and now become political wings in the power of military and state forces in Iraq, i's officials say. Some militia commanders privately complain Ghaani lacks the charisma and command of Arabic of his predecessor.
The leaders of Ghaani were Hadi Al-Amiri, the long-time Iranian paramilitary ally, and Qais Al-Khazali, an official who told the militia with direct knowledge and proximity to the two politicians.
The offices of Amiri and Khazali did not respond to requests for comment. Amiri condemned the attack publicly. Khazali blamed unidentified actors.
Iran-backed militias have publicly called the Nov. 7 attack a conspiracy to blacken their name and deceive chaos in Iraq. Several Iran-backed militias contacted by Reuters didn't respond to requests for comment about the attack.
Tensions have swelled in recent weeks with rivals Shiite groups, and the Iraqi judiciary will ratify election results in coming days, leading to resentment. And other important tests could come after Dec. 31. An attack by an militia called Kataib Sayyid al-Suhada is an important test for Iran's ability to maintain peace, and the united States has condemned all weapons against its forces. Washington has said that it reserves the right to respond to any deadly
JUSTY FOR POWER.
Shi'ite groups dominate Iraqi politics since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003 to destroy Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein. They have a wide array of Shi'ite parties, most with armed wings, but broadly now are into two camps: those who are pro-Iran and those that oppose Tehran's influence in Iraq.
The governing parties of Iraq are currently discussing forming a coalition. Sadr, the shiiite cleric who won the majority of parliament seats, said he would ally himself with those who'd use first principles, such as providing services for the people. This indicates he may discourage some Iran-backed rebel groups, in favour of Kurdish and Sunni parties.
The Iranians find it increasingly difficult to control allies who have their own interests and who won't be told a question for answering.
Tensions have surfaced over the past year or so, in particular over the recent election as groups stowed for power.
A result of the Nov. 7 attack, Ghaani met with the chief of the state paramilitary forces of Iraq, which is dominated by Iranian proxy groups. The politicians said that Ghaani gave the same message to the commander, Abdul Aziz al-Mohammedawi, a longtime Iran-backed operative, that message: Get the militia under control.
Mohammedawis office ne scolded questions about the meeting.
Iran's officials intervened in attempts to control intra-Shi'ite tension on other occasions, including in the wake of the elections.
Sadr had announced in July that he wouldn't boycott the vote, claiming that unspecified enemies wanted to destabilise Iraq and blame it on him.
A representative in Sadrs political office refused to comment.
The situation worries Iran, said the Islamic governments Abdul Karim al-Moussawi, who is a Fatah representative,. Sadr has always participated in the Shiite governing alliances and his refusal to participate in the political process would have shaken things up and caused more instability.
During the war, Iran's intelligence minister Mahmoud Alavi, and former military officials - and the Revolutionary Guards security chief Hossein Taeb, among others, met some of Sadr's political team in Bagdad. A group of Alavi and Taeb tried to intimidate Sadr to boycott the vote, according to an official in Sadr's political office.
A day after that, Sadr decided to return for a reorganization, after seeking advice from a top-class yatollah Ali Al-Sistani, said the senior syrian cleric in Iraq. The Iran mediation worked.
Ghaani visited Baghdad during two other crises in the past year, according to two militia officials and two politicians close to the militia.
An Iraqi militia member in the Iran camp said that Iran officials, whom he did not identify, intervened to convince Sadr to not boycott elections.
Reuters didn't respond to responses to the call for comment from Alavi and Taeb directed respectively via Iran's Government and the Revolutionary Guards.
The basic rules will be set.