THIS IS GRIM

Iraq

Below is from FNC’s James Rosen

A former senior intelligence official tells Fox News that Qassem Suleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Force – the division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) that conducts special operations outside of Iran – met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in the latter’s office approximately three hours ago, and was overheard offering to send two notorious Iranian brigades to aid in the defense of Baghdad.

 

The prime minister was said to be considering the offer seriously, especially in light of reported decisions by the U.S. to reject Maliki’s requests for American airstrikes at the al-Qaeda-affiliated militants who have recently overrun Mosul and Tikrit and appear to be preparing for a march on the capital.

 

The two brigades that Suleimani offered are Asaab Ahel Haq, a Shi’ite paramilitary unit, and the Shi’ite insurgency group Kata’ib Hezbollah (totally separate from the Hezbollah active in Lebanon). The former is reported to have claimed responsibility for over 6,000 attacks on U.S., Iraqi and coalition forces; the latter is said to be renowned for uploading video of its attacks on U.S. forces to the Internet.

 

The source drew attention to reports that in Mosul, the Iraqi security forces numbered 74,000 and simply “melted away.” Banks were looted to the tune of $500 million, and lethal weapons system and arms, even helicopters, were reportedly seized by the militants. Just in the hours since Mosul fell, the militia force that overran the city is said to have grown exponentially, with ex-Baathists, retired Iraqi military personnel from the Saddam era and other sympathizers coming out of the woodwork to join in what is anticipated to be a decisive fight for the capital.

 

Maliki is being urged by other voices to cut a deal with more moderate Sunni factions soon, something he was being urged to do years ago. He is also weighing an option to escape to Iran. The former senior intelligence official was dour on the prospects of the Maliki regime surviving: “Baghdad is going to be overrun. The Green Zone is going down.”

 

Suleimani has been sanctioned by the Treasury Department for his role in aiding the Assad regime in Syria and for support of terrorism. He was described by a former CIA officer in Iraq, in this 2013 New Yorker profile by Dexter Filkins, as the “most powerful operative in the Middle East today.”

 

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James Rosen

Chief Washington Correspondent

Host, The Foxhole

Twitter: @JamesRosenFNC

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