Terrorism

IRGC supplies Iraqi militias with short-range missiles, advanced weapons

By Faris al-Omran in Baghdad

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A photo circulated on December 5th on Iranian news websites shows Iranian leaders at a missile exhibition in Tehran. Recent intelligence reports accuse the IRGC of transporting and storing short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq.

Iraqi observers confirmed that Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is reinforcing the arsenal of its affiliated Iraqi militias with a range of missiles and advanced weapons, which would further undermine the stability of Iraq and other countries in the region.

This confirmation comes on the heels of press reports released December 4th citing US intelligence sources indicating that the Iranian regime is supplying its militias in Iraq with short-range ballistic missiles.

The reports further confirmed that Iran is helping the Iraqi militias stockpile these missiles, which have a range of up to 700 kilometres and can carry explosives that weigh between 500 and 900 kilogrammes.

The most prominent of these missiles are the Zelzal, Fateh and Zolfaghar models.

'A warehouse' for Iranian missiles

Political analyst and former Iraqi MP Taha al-Lahibi said the IRGC is supplying the Iraqi militias loyal to it with advanced weapons and reinforcing their stockpile with an array of short-range missiles.

By supplying these weapons, he said, Iranian leaders are seeking to "strengthen their terrorist networks and turn Iraq into a source of danger in the region".

"The Iranian regime is still brazenly violating Iraqi sovereignty by turning the country into a warehouse for its missiles and lethal weapons under the supervision and care of its loyal militias," he told Diyaruna.

"As such, Iran is continuing with its plans to destabilise Iraq and turn it into a launchpad for its missile attacks against neighbouring countries, particularly Gulf states," he added.

The Iranian regime wants to target the region via its foreign agents who do not realise that they are "mere tools that will be thrown into the fire as soon as they serve their purpose", al-Lahibi said.

Iranian agents in Iraq only look after Iran's interests and do not care about the consequences of their actions on the unity of Iraqis, he said.

Recent acts of violence in the region targeting Saudi oil facilities as well as oil tankers and commercial ships in the Arabian Gulf waters were blamed on the Iranian regime and its agents.

Iraqi militias are also accused of being behind missile attacks targeting the international Green Zone in central Baghdad, as well as US bases and diplomatic missions in the country.

Two rockets were fired at a military base housing US troops near Baghdad airport on December 12th, in the 10th such attack since October.

There were no casualties in the overnight attack, which follows one on the same base December 9th that wounded six members of Iraq's elite counter-terrorism force, two of them critically, the army said.

Iran destabilises Iraq

Thaer al-Bayati, secretary-general of the Salaheddine Arab Tribal Council, said the goal of the attack was to weaken Iraq's military and say that it cannot defend the country nor protect international forces, interests and missions.

Meanwhile, the IRGC continues to support Iran-backed militias with weapons and money "to bolster their position as an influential force with significant power that resembles an Iraqi revolutionary guard loyal to Iran", he said.

Over the past several months, Iran has transported short-range missiles to Iraq and hid them in military bases under the control of these militias in Baghdad and other provinces, he said.

The smuggling of these missiles across the border and their storage in secret locations "is still ongoing" and might have even picked up pace, al-Bayati said.

"The Iranians are trying to place more of these missiles in the hands of their Iraqi agents in order to continue launching missile attacks against military bases inside the country," he said.

They want to use Iraqi territory "as a launchpad for their missiles against Gulf countries and seek to implicate Iraq and turn it into a battlefield, which would undermine its safety and sovereignty", he added.

Iranian plots also aspire to make Iraq "a key outlet through which [the IRGC] will export a variety of weapons, projectiles and ballistic missiles" to its other agents in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen, he said.

These acts have only served to increase the mounting international isolation and pressure campaign that Iran faces because of its meddling in the domestic affairs of countries in the region.

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