US officials: Up to 100,000 Iran-backed fighters now in Iraq

As many as 100,000 Iranian-backed Shiite militia are now fighting on the ground in Iraq, according to U.S. military officials — raising concerns that should the Islamic State be defeated, it may only be replaced by another anti-American force that fuels further sectarian violence in the region.

The ranks have swelled inside a network of Shiite militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces. Since the rise of Sunni-dominated ISIS fighters inside Iraq more than two years ago, the Shiite forces have grown to 100,000 fighters, Col. Chris Garver, a Baghdad-based U.S. military spokesman, confirmed in an email to Fox News. The fighters are mostly Iraqis. Continue reading

Russia suspects Turkey is preparing for incursion into Syria

The Russian Defense Ministry said it has observed “a growing number of signs of hidden preparation of the Turkish armed forces for active actions on the territory of Syria.”

Ankara responded by saying it has the right to to protect its security and accused Russia of diverting attention from its own “crimes” in Syria. Continue reading

Russia Takes Over The Mid-East: Moscow Gets Green Light For Strikes In Iraq, Sets Up Alliance With Jordan

As was mentioned in a previous post, Russian intervention could be the Obama administration’s excuse to avoid responsibility and leave the Middle East. The consequences of allowing Russia to fill the vacuum are tremendous. It will pave the way for Iran to dominate the entire region, serve as an abandonment of Israel. It will be completely surrounded with no one to turn to other than Germany.

 

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The Kremlin’s alliance with Jordan plays right into that dynamic as the Moscow-Tehran nexus is literally encircling Riyadh, Doha, and the UAE…

 

 

Once it became clear that Moscow and Tehran had jointly planned the incursion in Syria with Russia promising full air support and Iran pledging ground troops from Hezbollah, its various Shiite militias, and the IRGC, we immediately suggested that Iraq was next on the agenda after the Assad regime is restored.

For those unfamiliar with the situation on the ground, we encourage you to read “Who Really Controls Iraq? Inside Iran’s Powerful Proxy Armies,” in which we outline the extent to which Tehran effectively controls both the Iraqi military and the politicians in Baghdad. Continue reading

Who Really Controls Iraq? Inside Iran’s Powerful Proxy Armies

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When social media began to light up with pictures of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani rallying Shiite militiamen and Hezbollah soldiers ahead of Russia and Iran’s joint effort to retake the city of Aleppo, some wondered where all of these fighters came from. After all, even though the IRGC has now all but admitted it sent soldiers to Syria for the offensive, it wasn’t as if the entire Iranian army marched in overnight and if you believe the reports from the frontlines, the ground force marching on Syria’s largest city looks quite a bit different from the depleted SAA which was all but decimated just two months ago. Continue reading

Russians, Syrians and Iranians setting up military coordination cell in Baghdad

EXCLUSIVE: Russian, Syrian and Iranian military commanders have set up a coordination cell in Baghdad in recent days to try to begin working with Iranian-backed Shia militias fighting the Islamic State, Fox News has learned.

Western intelligence sources say the coordination cell includes low-level Russian generals. U.S. officials say it is not clear whether the Iraqi government is involved at the moment.

Describing the arrival of Russian military personnel in Baghdad, one senior U.S. official said, “They are popping up everywhere.”  Continue reading

Iran Expands Regional ‘Empire’ Ahead of Nuclear Deal

BEIRUT (Reuters) – With Iran moving closer to a deal with world powers to constrain its nuclear program in return for an end to sanctions, Arab analysts and leaders are focused more on how Tehran is working unconstrained to tighten its grip on Arab states, from Iraq to Lebanon, and Syria to Yemen.

The man behind what some see as an attempt to create a new Persian and Shi’ite “empire” on Arab land is Major General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the al-Quds brigade of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Since he emerged from the shadows last autumn, Soleimani seems to be omnipresent on the battlefields of the Middle East. Continue reading

At least 50 rockets fired from Gaza into Israel – pro-Iranian Jihad Islami payback for missile ship seizure

The pro-Iranian Palestinian Jihad Islami terror group rained Wednesday, March 12 a heavy, continuous missile barrage against Israel, just two days after the Israeli presentation in Eilat of the illicit cargo of Iranian arms destined for terrorists aboard the Klos C, which Israeli commandos captured on the Red Sea last week. The presentation included 60 M302 short-range missiles made in Syria and flown to Iran for shipment to Gaza and Sinai via Sudan.

Iron Dome missile interceptors were activated against the barrage. No casualties or damage have been so far reported. Red alert signals sent hundreds of thousands of citizens running for shelter. Continue reading

Western sources: Israel Air Force hits SS-21 batteries, first attack in Syrian war on nuclear-capable missiles

Western military and intelligence sources report that Israeli Air Force strikes in Lebanon and Syria overnight Monday, Feb. 24 came on the heels of the first use in the three-year Syrian war of a Russian-made nuclear-capable Tochka (Point) surface missile – NATO-coded SS-21 Scarab – which carries a 480-kilo warhead with a range of 70 km. These missiles were fired earlier Monday in the Syrian-Hizballah battle for Yabroud. There was no information about the effect of the Israeli strikes.

According to Lebanese sources, however, the target was a cluster of five Hizballah bases or command posts in the Lebanese Beqaa Valley. Hizballah casualties were reported. Continue reading

Secret Iranian team in Beirut to counter suicide attacks and upgrade Hizballah intelligence

DEBKAfile Exclusive: Iran has embarked on an urgent project for rebuilding Hizballah’s intelligence and security mechanisms from scratch, to repair the ravages inflicted by the spate of suicide attacks on its strongholds in Beirut and other parts of Lebanon, since the Shiite militia joined the Syrian war.

A top team of senior officials from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Al Qods Brigades intelligence and Ministry of Intelligence and Security, landed secretly in Beirut last week. They arrived under cover of a delegation, headed by Deputy Justice Minister Abdol-Ali Mirkoohi, which came to collect information from the interrogation of Majid al Majid, the Saudi Arabian leader of the Abdallah Azzam Brigades terrorist group, who died in a Lebanese prison on Jan. 4. Continue reading

New Palestinian terror weapon: the Austrian Steyr .50 assassin’s rifle from Hizballah

The Palestinians are using a new weapon in their current campaign of terror against Israel. It is the Austrian single-shot Steyr 50 caliber sniper rifle which has an effective accurate range of up to 1,500 m. DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources report that Palestinian terrorist planners intend to expand its use in the hands of highly-trained marksmen to keep pace with deliveries by Iran’s Lebanese proxy Hizballah of the Iranian-made version of this assassin’s weapon to the Gaza Strip. Continue reading

Incredible! Beirut bombings killing 25 people were self-inflicted by Iran and Hizballah as a diversionary tactic

This is a deliberate attempt to fan the flames of war, as the Russians have done to manufacture a pretext for meddling in Chechnya.

A highly sensitive Saudi tip-off reaching Western intelligence agencies, including Israel, on Nov. 14, gave advance warning that Iran and Hizballah were plotting a major terrorist operation in Beirut as a diversionary stunt, debkafile’s exclusive intelligences sources report. The warning was received three days before twin suicide bombings struck the Iranian embassy in Beirut and the Hizballah stronghold suburb of Dahya Tuesday, Nov. 19, killing 25 people and injuring nearly 150.

It was on debkafile’s desk Sunday, Nov. 17. Continue reading

Iran threatens brutal attacks on Americans, Obama family if US hits Syria

As Congress debates whether to support President Obama’s call for a limited strike against Syria for the alleged use of chemical weapons, Iran is vowing to back Bashar al-Assad’s regime to the hilt and threatening to unleash terrorism should the U.S. strike.

Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Forces, Wednesday told the Assembly of Experts — the body that chooses the supreme leader — that “[w]e will support Syria to the end.”

And in an unprecedented statement, a former Iranian official has warned of mass abductions and brutal killings of American citizens around the world and the rape and killing of one of Obama’s daughters should the United States attack Syria. Continue reading