Middle East Times: New information was brought to light Thursday revealing “an overwhelming amount of intelligence indicating a political-military buildup by Tehran’s mullahs, targeting not just the south, but the heart of Iraq.” Middle East Times
By CLAUDE SALHANI (Editor, Middle East Times)
New information was brought to light Thursday revealing “an overwhelming amount of intelligence indicating a political-military buildup by Tehran’s mullahs, targeting not just the south, but the heart of Iraq.”
This information, collected by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (also known as the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, or the MeK), was made public by Alireza Jafarzadeh, president of Strategic Policy Consulting, Inc., an outfit based in Washington, D.C. with close ties to the MeK.
According to Jafarzadeh this latest move by Tehran “can only be interpreted as indicating an aggressive buildup, by an aggressive regime with an aggressive agenda.”
Iran’s plan, according to Jafarzadeh, is to expand its terrorist network in Iraq through the deployment of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ elite units the Qods Force.
Considered one of the world’s most dangerous groups operating in the shadows, the Qods (Jerusalem) Force is reported to have established a regional command headquarters in the western Iranian city of Kermanshah. Located along the Iran-Iraq border, the headquarters is divided into three operational directorates: northern, central and southern.
Each operational sector has been assigned its own border-crossings and arms smuggling networks, and each has been tasked in managing a terror network within its assigned sector in Iraq.
Iranian opposition forces claim the Qods Force command HQ is based in the Kenesht valley in Kermanshah in a base camp known as Velayat-Faqih, and is under the command of a high-ranking Qods Force officer named Haj Amiri. A veteran Qods officer, Amiri was previously assigned to the command of IRGC Brigadier General Reza-Seifollahi, where he managed Badr Corps agents deployed into Iraq during the eight-year Iran-Iraq war.
THE NORTHERN AXIS
The Northern Axis is responsible for the Baghdad, Diyala, and Kurdistan provinces of Iraq. Abu-Mostafa Shaybani and Abu-Mehdi Mohandes, two key commanders of the Qods Force’s network in Iraq, work with the Northern Axis, commanded by Amiri.
THE NORTHERN ROUTE FOR WEAPONS SMUGGLING
One of the Qods Force’s main tasks is to funnel weapons from Iran to Iraq, according to the resistance opposed to the mullahs in Tehran. Most shipments enter Iraq at the Marivan border crossing. A city in western Iran, Marivan was surrounded with military trenches during the Iran-Iraq war. Mules are used to transport the weapons. In October 2007 about 100 Katyusha rockets were smuggled through this route. On the Iraqi side of the border, individuals belonging to Abu-Jafar al-Boka’s network arrive at the location driving tanker trucks filled with water. They load the rockets and transfer them via military roads to Baghdad. To evade inspection at checkpoints, al-Boka uses official papers issued by Iraq’s Ministry of Interior.
Weapons transferred through the Marivan passage include Katyusha rockets, explosive packages, TNT, and anti-helicopter surface-to-air missiles.
THE CENTRAL AXIS
The Central Axis is commanded by a Qods Force officer named Andami, a resident of the city of Ilam in western Iran.
THE SOUTHERN AXIS
The operational area of the Southern Axis, under the command of Jafar Ansari, extends from Dehloran in Iran to Basra in Iraq.
Dehghan transfers weapons to Iraq via the Hoor-Abdullah passageway. In Iraq, Faez Afshari, based in Basra, receives the weapons and distributes them among the network. The weapons are transported using boats in the afternoon hours, since the border crossing is very idle at that time of day. The smuggling route goes through Hoor-Abdullah to Shalamche and then on to Shatt. Arms shipments also make their way across the Faw passage.
The report goes on to name dozens of individuals whom it accuses of smuggling weapons and carrying out activities against U.S. and other coalition forces in Iraq.
TRAINING CENTERS USED BY QODS COMMAND HQ
Kermanshah’s Kenesht Valley
Two bases located about 10 miles from the Kenesht valley and two miles from each other are used for training Iraqis affiliated with the Qods Force, according to the report released by Jafarzadeh. The latest information from the Iranian resistance indicates that nearly 2,000 persons are training in these two bases.
Jalil Abad Base in Varamin near Tehran
The Jalil Abad base is reported to be one of the most active training bases of the Qods Force where recruits undergo training in bomb-making and how to fire rocket propelled grenades, Russian-made Katyusha rockets, as well as surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles. In August 2007, nearly 300 Iraqis from Abu-Mehdi Mohandes’ network crossed into Iran along the southern border and were transferred to Jalil Abad Base. They were still there in early October 2007.
According to the same sources, Iran’s Qods Force have agents operating from the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad.
The list of accusations and finger-pointing is indeed a long one. Independent confirmation of the individuals named by the Iranian resistance as belonging to Iran’s Qods Force has not been possible and therefore many names have been kept out of this report. But among them appears the name of the Bank Melli branch in Baghdad, which according to the report is used by Qods Force agents from the embassy as a front for money laundering.
“The Qods Force has restructured its operations to adjust with the new realities of its neighbor, i.e. the surge and the formation of the Awakening Councils,” said Jafarzadeh.
While it remains impossible to independently confirm this latest report, previous intelligence provided by the MeK has proven accurate. It was the MeK that exposed Iran’s clandestine nuclear weapons program by revealing the nuclear sites in Natanz and Arak in 2002.