Barack Obama “gifted” the Trump Administration with a host of problems and veritable landmines: a resurgent Russia in a limited war with Ukraine, an unchecked China (stealing US intellectual property and technology), a special counsel investigation perpetrated based on a Russian hoax, the disaster of Obamacare, wide-open borders, the rise of ISIS, the failed state of Libya, a Syrian civil war, and an Iran emboldened by a nuclear agreement that was the centerpiece of Obama’s foreign policy (masking the Iranian’s drive toward a nuclear weapon).
Oh, and a big part of Obama’s “Iranian project” was the unchecked growth of Iranian-backed terrorism throughout the Middle East, especially the growth of “indigenous” Iranian-funded militias in Syria and Iraq and directly coordinated by Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani.
Here are some excerpts from an excellent UK Daily Mail article describing Soleimani’s infamous career:
In 1998, he was named commander of the Quds Force. ‘Quds’ is the Persian word for Jerusalem, which the Iranians have vowed to liberate. It was first established during the Iran-Iraq conflict with the goal of helping the Kurds in their struggle against Saddam Hussein. The Quds Force eventually started to train military outfits outside of Iran, like Hezbollah in Lebanon.
As the head of the Quds – or Jersualem – Force of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, Soleimani was officially charged with protecting the Islamic revolution, and in practice was used to enforce the regime’s will across the Middle East.
Commonly known as the second most powerful man in Iran, wielding more influence than the president, he was seen by many as a future leader. His CV included helping Shia militias to kill hundreds of American troops during the US invasion of Iraq, backing Assad as he slaughtered civilians by the thousands during the Syrian civil war, and most recently overseeing the slaughter of hundreds of anti-Iran protesters in Iraq.
In a 2010 speech, US General David Petreaus recounted a message from Soleimani he said explained the scope of Iranian’s powers. ‘He said, “General Petreaus, you should know that I, Qassem Soleimani, control the policy for Iran with respect to Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza and Afghanistan”,’ Petraeus said.
The US and the United Nations put Soleimani on sanctions lists in 2007, though his travels continued. His greatest notoriety would arise from the Syrian civil war and the rapid expansion of the Islamic State group. Iran, a major backer of Assad, sent Soleimani into Syria several times to lead attacks against IS and others opposing Assad’s rule.
Soleimani is also thought to have been the point man for Iran’s foreign policy in places like Afghanistan and the Caucasus region.
What that article failed to mention is the role the Obama Administration – and Joe Biden in particular – played in facilitating Iran’s dominance in Iraq in 2010 – the same year that Soleiimani himself claimed to be controlling Iranian policy in Iraq in the above article. Note this excerpt from a Washington Free Beacon article:
Former vice president Joe Biden reportedly played a decisive role in enabling recently assassinated Iranian terror leader Qassem Soleimani to push the United States out of Iraq and deliver the country into the hands of Iran.
In 2010, as Iraq faced pivotal elections that decided the country’s direction, Soleimani went to great lengths to ensure Iranian-backed politicians won control of the government, according to a comprehensive 2013 New Yorker profile of the terror leader by Dexter Filkins. During that time, Filkins reported, then-vice president Biden called pro-America Iraqi politician Ayad Allawi to demand he stop trying to form a government. This crucial call paved the way for Soleimani to orchestrate an Iranian takeover of the Iraqi political system, according to interviews Filkins conducted with numerous sources.
The Obama Administration clearly knew that Soleimani was directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans – he was even placed on a no-travel list (never enforced until Friday!). Yet, they stood by while the Iranian-backed Nouri al-Maliki took over the Iraqi government, which subsequently led to the withdrawal of most US combat power from Iraq. That vacuum led directly to the rise of ISIS in western Iraq, as well as the resurgence and/or formation of Iranian-backed militia in Iraq that were controlled by Soleimani.
Courtesy of Twitter personality Heshmat Alavi (@heshmatalavi), I have reviewed some online sources detailing Iraqi militia that are dominated and controlled by the Quds Force (formerly Soleimani) – some of the same groups that killed Americans during Operation Iraqi Freedom and attempted to storm the US embassy in Baghdad last week. Most people have no idea at all of the existence of these groups and their direct support from Iran. Here are just a few excerpts from an outstanding analysis of Iran’s expanding militia and “special groups” influence in Iraq from West Point’s Counter Terrorism Center; I strongly encourage reading the whole report at this link:
The Iraqi state has drawn upon militia-like reserve forces throughout its history to defeat internal and external threats. The use of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF, Hashd al-Sha’abi in Arabic), raised in 2014 by a combination of executive orders and religious fatwa, is merely the latest example of this trend. Within the PMF—forming its core, in fact—are older pro-Iranian militias that were previously labeled “Special Groups” by the United States and designated as terrorist organizations in some cases. A broader range of Special Groups now exist than when the U.S. military left Iraq in 2011, underlining the diversification of actors that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force (IRGC-QF) works with in today’s Iraq. Unlike previous militias that were tolerated and controlled by the state, the Special Groups are already operating outside the state’s ability to monitor or discipline them.
The Syrian civil war and the interrelated war against the Islamic State in Iraq breathed life back into the Special Groups after the removal of U.S. forces from Iraq in 2011. As U.S. forces departed, Special Groups like KH harried the withdrawing U.S. presence until the very end but faced a future in which their commonly understood raison d’etre—the removal of the U.S. occupation—had expired. In late 2011, the Islamic State’s predecessor group, the Islamic State of Iraq, appeared to be defeated and the Iraqi security forces appeared to be robust.
The 2011-2014 period of the Special Groups is important to understand at a time when today’s Iran-backed militias are also looking beyond their prior mission, the main combat phase of the war against the Islamic State. Back in 2011-2012, the Special Groups immediately began deploying to a new battlefield as the United States was leaving Iraq. Providing an Iraqi foreign fighter cadre to the Iranian intervention in Syria provided one outlet for militancy and most of the Special Groups contributed, including KH, Kata’ib Sayid al-Shuhada (under U.S.-sanctioned terrorist Abu Mustafa al-Sheibani), and Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH). Within Iraq, the Special Groups remained ready to support Iran in the case of an Iranian clash with the United States, the Gulf States, or Israel.
… [Iraqi Prime Minister] al-Maliki’s vision of a predominately Shi`a reserve army [was implemented] that contained both new recruits and what al-Maliki called “mujahedeen” from Special Groups such as KH, AAH, and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, plus new pro-Iranian militias like Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba (led by U.S.-designated terrorist Akram Kaabi), Kata’ib al-Imam Ali (led by U.S.-designated terrorist Shibl al-Zaydi), and Kata’ib Jund al-Imam. From the outset, however, the key leader in the PMF was Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the most inveterate opponent of the United States among the Special Group leaders, and al-Muhandis worked assiduously to develop the PMF into an organization that was neither subject to full prime ministerial command nor subordinate to the conventional security forces.
The central nervous system of IRGC-Quds Force (QF) influence in Iraq is Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Kata’ib Hezbollah, which maintains a stranglehold over most of the key relationships and posts in the PMF structure. [I]n November 2010, KH emerged as the primary IRGC-QF proxy in Iraq when larger and more disparate networks—Badr and splinter groups from Moqtada al-Sadr’s Jaish al-Mahdi—proved too unwieldy and prone to infighting for IRGC-QF to control. From the IRGC-QF perspective, a smaller and centrally controlled force was no doubt required to manage and provide Iranian signature weapons (like Explosively Formed Penetrators, or EFPs) to groups that used them effectively against U.S. forces in line with Iranian guidance, rather than against Shi`a rivals.
Note: Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was one of the other key terrorists killed along with Soleimani in that drone strike – clear evidence that Soleimani and al-Muhandis were coordinating future planned actions that American intelligence foiled – which blew them into pieces. Here is an excellent article from PJ Media that summarized al-Muhandis’s terrorist career. He was a REALLY bad guy.
Here is one other tidbit of Obama regime perfidy regarding Soleimani. In 2015, Obama warned Iran that Israel was very close to taking out Soleimani, thwarting an assassination attempt at that time. From a 2018 Haaretz article is the following excerpt:
Israel was “on the verge” of assassinating Soleimani three years ago, near Damascus, but the United States warned the Iranian leadership of the plan, revealing that Israel was closely tracking the Iranian general.
The incident, the report said, “sparked a sharp disagreement between the Israeli and American security and intelligence apparatuses regarding the issue.”
Let’s summarize what we’ve learned in this article:
- Soleimani was a known bad guy who was personally responsible for the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of Americans.
- The Obama regime knew he was a bad guy, as they put him on a “no-fly” list, and certainly knew of his Quds Forces activities supporting Hezbollah franchises in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, among many other Iranian-backed militia and “special groups.”
- Joe Biden was Obama’s “point man” on Iraq. His actions enabled Iranian-backed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to take over the Iraqi government in 2010, leading to withdrawal of most US combat power in Iraq, which paved the way for the rise of ISIS (about which the Obama regime did nothing).
- The rise of Sunni-dominant ISIS led to a corresponding resurgence and rise of Shi’a-dominant militia and special groups in Iraq to counter ISIS – and which were controlled by Soleimani’s Quds Force.
- The Obama regime tipped off Tehran about an impending Israeli effort to take out Soleimani in 2015. Obama rolled over in order to get his nuclear agreement done with Iran.
- The founder and virulently anti-American leader of Kata’ib Hezbollah (the Iraqi Hezbollah franchise), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, was killed in the same drone attack that blew Soleimani to bits. They were clearly planning and coordinating wider attacks on US personnel and interests in the region but got popped in a preemptive strike before they could execute their plan.
- Soleimani and al-Muhandis coordinated that attack on the US embassy in Baghdad; their plan blew up when they were blown up. US military intelligence got this one right.
Should we listen to the bleating of former Obama administration hacks like Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Jim Sciutto, and others regarding the drone strike and follow-up actions aimed at decapitating Iranian-backed militias in Iraq (and hopefully elsewhere) that are likely still in progress? I don’t think they have an ounce of credibility since they are directly responsible for the current crisis.
Thank God that we have a president in the Oval Office who understands the threat and acts decisively! It’s about damn time!
Post Script. It should be noted that Kata’ib Hezbollah has been attacking US facilities in Iraq throughout 2019, as noted in this table: