Iran's Quds Force fighting in Iraq - with the administration's blessing
Iran's notorious Quds Force - the foreign adventure wing of the Revolutionary Guards - is apparently fighting alongside Shiite militias in Iraq and the Obama administration has welcomed them to the fight against ISIS.
The Quds Force is also killing rebels in Syria on behalf of President Assad.
Confused? So is the administration.
Iran’s secretive Quds Force is becoming more active in Iraq alongside Iraqi soldiers and militias battling the Islamic State terrorist group, as the Obama administration sends signals welcoming Tehran to the fight.
A source close to the U.S. special operations community said some elite Quds forces were on the ground last month when Iraqis recaptured the strategic Mosul Dam from Islamic State invaders. The Iraqis were aided overhead U.S. strike aircraft providing close-air support.
The report comes as the Obama administration is talking more openly about relying on Iran, a Shiite-dominated nation, to take on the Islamic State, which also is known as ISIS and ISIL.
“There is a role for nearly every country in the world to play, including Iran,” Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Friday at the U.N. while drumming up support for destroying the Islamic State.
The Pentagon says it had no troops on the ground and thus does not know the affiliations of all the anti-Islamic State fighters during the battle for Mosul Dam, the most famous and successful to date after U.S. planes began striking the terrorists in early August.
“We know that the Quds Forces have been operating in Iraq,” the official said. “That we know for a fact. And we know that they have been doing some partnering and assisting with Iraqi forces. A lot of what the Quds Forces are doing is more focused on the militias, the Shiite militias.”
You can imagine the reaction of our Sunni allies - those who aren't aligned with ISIS - to the notion that we're welcoming the participation of the Quds Force. By providing close air support for Quds and the Shiite militias, we can easily be seen as a proxy air force for the Shiite militias, who have been accused of several atrocities against Sunnis already.
Is it a good idea that Iran develop a close military relationship with these Shiite militias? The war can;'t last forever, and there may be many of the quarter of a million armed Shiite militiamen who may wish to finish the cleansing of Sunnis from Iraq that they started in 2005. That's what the Sunnis fear, anyway, and it does no good to have the Sunnis seeing us as allied with their deadly enemies.