Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Political Violence By Pro-Iran Groups Continues In Iraq

(Iraq Oil Report)

Political violence is an ongoing issue in Iraq. Instead of the Islamic State it’s pro-Iran groups connected with the Coordination Framework list that are responsible. In June they have attacked both the Iraqi intelligence agency as well as a Kurdish gas field.

 

These factions have accused the Iraqi National Intelligence Service (NIS) of playing a role in the deaths of Hashd leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force commander General Qasim al-Suleimani in 2020. The latest incident came after former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the operation to kill Muhandis and Suleimani was a purely American operation. Not one for details, Kataib Hezbollah claimed Pompeo confirmed that the National Service was involved in the incident. In response two bombs went off at the fence of the intelligence headquarters in Baghdad on June 19.

 

This was not the first time Hashd groups have attacked the NIS. Hamdi Malik, Michael Knights and Crispin Smith documented the assassination of several intel officers in 2021.

 

The Khor Mor gas field in Sulaymaniya has been targeted three times with rockets over four days. That occurred on June 22, June 24 and June 25. Two people were wounded in the process. Sulaymaniya is controlled by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). The PUK has worked with the Coordination Framework to block Moqtada al-Sadr from forming the new government because he is aligned with the Kurdistan Democratic Party which wants all of the top Kurdish positions in the country including the presidency which the PUK has held since 2005. The attacks are likely a warning to the party to stay with the Framework when it tries to pick the next prime minister.

 

This is not a new tactic either. The Framework has carried out attacks on all its rivals since the elections in October 2021.

 

The Hashd units behind these incidents have always used violence to achieve their political goals. Many of them started off as militias who were created to force the Americans out of Iraq. It comes as no surprise then that they have continued with attacks against their foes and even their likely allies to keep them in line. This is part of the price Iraq pays for having a weak and ineffective government which has not only allowed militias to operate but has actively supported them and made them part of the state.

 

SOURCES

 

Bas News, "Third Rocket Attack Targets Kurdistan's Key Gas Field," 6/25/22

 

Buratha News, “Kataib Hezbollah: Pompeo confirmed our information that a director and members of the intelligence service were involved in the airport crime,” 6/19/22

 

Al Mada, “The Coordination Framework agreed to all the conditions of al-Sadr’s allies without objection in order to head the government,” 6/25/22

 

Mahmoud, Sinan, "Iraq's Khor Mor gas field attacked by rocket for second time in days," The National, 6/24/22

 

Malik, Hamdi, Knights, Michael, Smith, Crispin, “The Militia Assassination Surge, Part 1: Sabereen and Unit 10,000 Threat to Iraqi Forces,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 12/10/21

 

Al Monitor, “Militias target again Iraq’s intelligence service,” 6/25/22

 

NRT, "Dana Gas Says Two People Injured In Wednesday's Missile Attack," 6/23/22

- "No One Killed In Dana Gas Katyusha Attack - Kurdistan Counterterrorism," 6/22/22

 

Salem, Amr, “Explosion near security headquarters rocks Baghdad,” Iraqi News, 6/19/22

 

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