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Iran uses militia to deploy missiles in Iraq: Washington Institute

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A long article published this week by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy has focused on indications that Iran is making use of its Iraqi militia clients.

Through these militia clients, it could deploy short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) in the deserts of western Iraq – with the intention that these could be launched against Israel at a time of Iran’s choosing.

The article is authored by IDF Brig.-Gen. (res.) Assaf Orion and veteran Iraq analyst Michael Knights.

"Concern is mounting within Iraqi, U.S., and Israeli intelligence circles that Iran is covertly supplying long-range artillery rockets to proxy militias inside Iraq, including U.S.-designated terrorist groups Kataib Hezbollah and Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba (HaN), and potentially the Badr Organization," the article read.

These Shia proxies have reportedly developed exclusive use of secure bases in the provinces of Diyala (e.g., Camp Ashraf), Salah al-Din (Camp Speicher), Baghdad (Jurf al-Sakhar), Karbala (Razzaza), and Wasit (Suwayrah), the article read.

It is also widely accepted that militias have developed a line of communication and control to Iran through Diyala, allowing them to import missiles and equipment without government approval or knowledge, according to the article.

The article also reported some examples, saying that artillery rockets may already have entered Iraq inside empty water or oil tankers, a tactic also used in Yemen. If so, Iran’s playbook suggests that SRBMs and/or precision guidance systems could soon follow.

Washington and Baghdad need to make sure that Iran does not develop the capability to covertly move missiles into Iraq. Such deliveries would violate UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which bars “the supply, sale, or transfer of arms and related material from Iran,” the article read.

As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emphasized during his recent visit to Baghdad, the Iraqi government can address this problem directly by keeping a close eye on Iran’s militia proxies and their bases. This argues for ensuring that state-controlled intelligence and counterterrorism forces have access to military bases that are now used exclusively by pro-Iranian units of the Popular Mobilization Forces such as Kataib Hezbollah, HaN, and Asaib Ahl al-Haq. This first step might provide some reassurance to those parties concerned about Iranian missiles in Iraq, according to the article.
Last Modified: Friday، 17 May 2019 10:11 PM
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