Archive for the ‘Quds Force’ category

Germany: Iran Plotting Terror on Jewish and Israeli Targets

April 25, 2017

Germany: Iran Plotting Terror on Jewish and Israeli Targets, Investigative Project on Terrorism, April 24, 2017

Last month, Bahrain security authorities arrested members of an Iranian-sponsored terrorist cell, accusing them of planning to assassinate senior government officials. The IRGC reportedly provided military training to several cell members.

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Iran is responsible for a significant amount of espionage activity in Germany over the past decade, and is responsible for planning terrorist attacks on Israeli and Jewish targets, the Jerusalem Post reports.

In a letter sent to a Left Party deputy from German’s interior ministry, the federal government launched 22 criminal investigations concerning Iran’s illegal espionage activity – more than China and Turkey who were suspected in 15 spy cases each. Only Russia, with 27 cases, is involved in more suspected espionage activity than Iran.

In one case, German prosecutors allege that Haidar Syed-Naqfi was ordered to identify Jewish and Israeli institutions in Germany and other Western European countries as potential targets for terrorist attacks. For example, he was accused of monitoring the headquarters of a Jewish newspaper in Berlin. Syed-Naqfi also identified several Israel supporters, including the former chief of the German-Israel Friendship Society and a French-Israeli business professor. German authorities believe his preparations were “a clear indication of an assassination attempt.”

Between July 2015 and July 2016, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) al-Quds Force paid Syed-Naqi more than $2,200.

Half of Germany’s state governments reported Iranian attempts to acquire material related to nuclear activities in 2015, the Post reports. An examination of intelligence sources in 2016 also produced new revelations surrounding Iran’s chemical and biological weapons programs.

Iran pursued German businesses in the Rhineland-Palatinate state seeking dual-use goods that could be “used for atomic, biological and chemical weapons in a war,” according to that state’s intelligence report.

An estimated 250 active Iranian-backed Hizballah operatives, out of about 950 Hizballah members throughout Germany, according to a 2014 Berlin intelligence report summarized by the Post.

Last month, Bahrain security authorities arrested members of an Iranian-sponsored terrorist cell, accusing them of planning to assassinate senior government officials. The IRGC reportedly provided military training to several cell members.

Iran has been accused of plotting terrorist attacks in recent years – mainly through proxies like Hizballah and IRGC’s Quds Force – in countries such as Egypt, Cyprus, Georgia, Thailand, India and others. In July 2012, a bus bomb widely attributed to Hizballah killed five Israeli tourists and a bus driver in Bulgaria.

In October 2011, the United Stated disrupted an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Washington D.C. and bomb the Saudi and Israeli embassies in the U.S. capital.

Iran’s Soleimani leads US-backed attack on Fallujah

May 24, 2016

Iran’s Soleimani leads US-backed attack on Fallujah, DEBKAfile, May 24, 2016

Qassem_Soleimani_overseeing_Fallujah_ops_1Exclusive photo of war conference.

For months, US President Barack Obama and the Pentagon opposed the participation by pro-Iranian militias in the war against ISIS in Iraq.

The main objection were to the Popular Mobilization Army commanded by Iranian Gen. Abu Mahdi al Muhandis who has been named as a “specially designated global terrorist” by Washington.

The US was also against the Badr Organization (formerly the Badr Brigade) commanded by Hadi Al-Amiri from Iran’s Al Qods Brigades. These militias slaughtered the Sunni residents of cities that they recaptured from ISIS during the last year. As a result, many Sunni Iraqis preferred to be ruled by ISIS, and did not trust the coalition of US, Baghdad and Tehran.

But on May 22, with the start of the Iraqi attack on Fallujah, the capital of Anbar province in western Iraq, it became clear that the participation of pro-Iranian forces is no longer taboo for the US.

Even though Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced that 35,000 Iraqi troops launched an attack to liberate Fallujah from ISIS, DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report that most of these forces are not participating in the assault.

It is spearheaded by the Popular Mobilization Army and the Badr Organization, and they are under the direct command of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of Iranian forces in Iraq and Syria, who is operating from a field command center.

The US air force is helping Soleimani’s attempt to capture Fallujah.

In a new exclusive photo showing the Iranian war room on the front, Soleimani is seen smoking a thick cigar with al-Muhandis on his left, leaning on a US map of the area of the battle.

Our military sources report that by assisting the offensive, which the Obama administration opposed for a long time, the Americans have actually given up on attacking Mosul, the ISIS capital in Iraq, any time soon.
Instead of liberating Mosul, Washington now prefers to place it under siege and gradually cause the collapse of ISIS rule.

The American decision to support Soleimani’s operation shows the central role played by Iran for the past few weeks in the wars carried out by the US and Russia in the Middle East.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Iranian general came to Fallujah from northern Syria, near the city of Aleppo, where he commanded the Iranian, Syrian and Hizballah armies. At this stage, it can be concluded that he has failed against the Syrian rebels on the Aleppo front.

Following that failure of that campaign, which was backed by Russian air power, Soleimani has relocated to the Fallujah front where his troops are operating under the protective umbrella of the US air force.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards’ troubling transformation

December 8, 2015

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards’ troubling transformation, Front Page MagazineDr. Majid Rafizadeh, December 8, 2015

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Despite the guidelines of the nuclear deal and contrary to President Obama’s claim that Iran will temper its foreign policy, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is actively transforming the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guard Corps’ operation. This will have significant impact on regional geopolitics and US national security.

The Islamic Republic used to deploy the Quds Force, which has been designated as a supporter of terrorism by the State Department and is a paramilitary arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards. Its purpose is to engage in irregular warfare operations, extraterritorial interventions, foreign policy missions, and interference in the affairs of other countries. The Quds Force has an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 personnel.

Recent developments clearly indicate that Iranian leaders are transforming the whole Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) into an organization that operates like the Quds Force in order to achieve Iran’s Islamist, ideological, geopolitical and strategic goals, as well as its expansionist objectives.

Unlike the Quds Force, the IRGC has an estimated 100,000-200,000 military personnel. IRGC also funds, arms, trains, and controls other domestic and foreign militia groups such as Iran’s paramilitary Basij militia, which has approximately 90,000 personnel, Hezbollah, with an estimated 20,000-30,000 fighters, as well as several other Shiite militia groups in Iraq, Yemen, and throughout the region.

Iranian news media outlets used to downplay the  IRGC’s role in other nations. But recently, Iran’s official news agency, Fars news, reported that several members of the Revolutionary Guard — including Mostafa Sadrzadeh, Milad Mostafavi, and Brigadier General Reza Khavari, the senior commander of IRGC’s Fatemiyoun Division — were among other fighters who were killed in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. So far more than 100 IRGC fighters have been killed in Syria.

Iranian media and officials once characterized IRGC involvement in Syria as limited to advisory roles, providing tactical assistance, engaging in strategic planning, and providing intelligence.

But in the last few weeks, reports of public funerals have risen, putting the Quds Force in the public eye.  Even the Supreme Leader has become more public. He tweeted about one of the Iranian fighters who died in Syria, posted a picture of him with the “martyred” family, and pointed out that “Gen. Hamedani devoted the final years of his fruitful life to fighting against anti-Islam Takfiris and fulfilled his martyrdom wish in the same front.”

Iran is increasing the amount of its IRGC fighters in Syria, with a concentration of forces in the critical cities of Allepo, Latakia, and Damascus, to prevent the fall of these strategic locations to the opposition.

While Iranian leaders project the image that they are fighting the Islamic State, Iranian forces are not positioned close to any IS stranglehold. Instead, they appear to be battling Syrian rebel groups, including the Free Syrian Army, in an attempt to force them to retreat, preventing them from capturing more territories in Allepo, Latakia and Damascus.

There are several reasons behind this tactical and IRGC organizational shift. First of all, the policy of the Obama administration is to appease Iran. This is made clear by its weak stance toward Iran. This allows Iran’s interventionist operations to be strengthened, and has empowered and transformed Tehran’s military organizations.

Secondly, The Islamic Republic pushed for Russia’s military assistance and involvement in Syria. The setbacks that Assad’s army and the Quds Force encountered in early 2015, mainly due to rise of the Islamic State and rebel groups advancements, propelled the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Qassem Soleimani to visit Putin and ask for military help.

Nevertheless, Russia’s military superiority and interventions in Latakia did overshadow and bring into question Iran’s influence in Syria. By resorting to the IRGC and public acknowledgments of Iranian fighters operating on the ground in Syria, the Islamic Republic strives to reassert its presence in Syria.

In addition, the increasing Russian airstrikes are coordinated with the rising deployment of IRGC fighters on the ground. This inevitably will lead to a rise in Iranian casualties. Throughout these shifts, Assad has become increasingly dependent on Iran’s IRGC and Russia.

Furthermore, before the rise of the Islamic State, Iran played down its military role in the region because Tehran did not have a legitimate excuse to justify its presence in Syria. Iranian leaders were also worried about a direct confrontation with the West and other regional powers. They attempted to prevent the scuttling of nuclear negotiations. But after the nuclear deal was reached, and after the Islamic State grabbed global headlines, the Islamic Republic’s policy shifted in order to transform the IRGC’s function.

In the pursuit of hegemonic ambitions, Iran seizes any opportunity to reassert its regional supremacy, power and preeminence. By transforming the IRGC into a foreign offensive and interventionist force in other countries, by essentially making IRGC a regional military empire, and by announcing publicly that IRGC troops are present in Syria, Iran is demonstrating its hegemonic, Islamist, and powerful role in the region.

Although some policy analysts and scholars argue that the increasing death toll of Iranian fighters might change the IRGC’s decision to support the Syrian dictator, it is not likely that there will be any change in Iran’s policy of backing Assad. Tehran’s stakes in keeping Assad’s regime in power are high. Iran can afford several more years of assistance for the Syrian army and will continue to provide military, financial, advisory and intelligence support.

In closing, it is clear that the Islamic Republic is transforming the whole ideological and militaristic empire of the IRGC into an interventionist force which will operate in foreign countries for the purpose of fulfilling expansionist and Islamists objectives.