HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Places » International » Middle East (Group) » Tehran-backed Hezbollah s...

Tue Feb 11, 2020, 08:40 PM

Tehran-backed Hezbollah steps in to guide Iraqi militias in Soleimani's wake

Reuters) - Shortly after Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq, the Tehran-backed Lebanese organization Hezbollah urgently met with Iraqi militia leaders, seeking to unite them in the face of a huge void left by their powerful mentorís death, two sources with knowledge of the meetings told Reuters.

The meetings were meant to coordinate the political efforts of Iraqís often-fractious militias, which lost not only Soleimani but also Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a unifying Iraqi paramilitary commander, in the Jan. 3 attack at Baghdad airport, the sources said.

While offering few details, two additional sources in a pro-Iran regional alliance confirmed that Hezbollah, which is sanctioned as a terrorist group by the United States, has stepped in to help fill the void left by Soleimani in guiding the militias. All sources in this article spoke on condition of anonymity to address sensitive political activities rarely addressed in public. Officials with the governments of Iraq and Iran did not respond to requests for comment, nor did a spokesperson for the militia groups.

The discussions shed light on how Iran and its allied groups are trying to cement control in the unstable Middle East, especially in the wake of the devastating U.S. attack on a revered Iranian military leader.

The Tehran-backed militias are critical to Iranís efforts to maintain control over Iraq, where the U.S. still maintains some 5,000 troops. The country has experienced years of civil war since U.S. forces toppled Saddam Hussein and more recently, the government - and the militias - have faced growing protests against Iranís influence in the country. Iran helped found some Iraqi militia groups.

In the months ahead of his death, Soleimani had waded ever deeper into the Iraq crisis, holding meetings with the Iraqi militias in Baghdad as Tehran sought to defend its allies and interests in its power struggle with the United States, one of the two Iraqi sources said.

Hezbollahís involvement marks an expansion of its role in the region. The Shiíite group, founded by Iranís Revolutionary Guards in 1982, has been at the heart of Iranís regional strategy for years, helping Soleimani to train paramilitary groups in both Iraq and Syria.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-iraq-hezbollah-insight/tehran-backed-hezbollah-steps-in-to-guide-iraqi-militias-in-soleimanis-wake-idUSKBN20520Y

0 replies, 523 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Reply to this thread