American commandos are on the front lines in Syria in a new push toward the Islamic State s de facto capital in Raqqa, but in Iraq it is an entirely different story: Iran, not the United States, has become the face of an operation to retake the jihadist stronghold of Falluja from the militant group. The battle over Falluja has evolved into yet another example of how United States and Iranian interests seemingly converge and clash at the same time in Iraq. Both want to defeat the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. But the United States has long believed that Iran s role, which relies on militias accused of sectarian abuses, can make matters worse by angering Sunnis and making them more sympathetic to the militants.
Iran's general has arrived on the eastern outskirts of the Islamic State group [IS] bastion of Fallujah in Iraq, as government forces advanced on the city from the south in a bid to recapture it from militants, a local military source has said. Major General Qassem Soleimani of the Revolutionary Guard's al-Quds Force arrived in Fallujah on Tuesday to supervise the ongoing push to retake the city. Soleimani - known as the "Shadow Commander" - was reported critically injured in Syria late last year, he is in charge of Tehran's "overseas operations" in Syria and Iraq.
Iran's cyber police chief said on Monday officers had arrested 53 people for running websites supporting the Islamic State militant group (IS), Tasnim news agency reported. Shi'ite Muslim power Iran said last month it had broken up a cell recruiting fighters for the hardline Sunni Muslim group in Kermanshah, a western province close to the Iraqi border. The area has a large Sunni Kurdish population that has risen up against Tehran in the past
The Iranian government reportedly has stepped up shipments of weapons and money to the Taliban in Afghanistan in recent months. According to The Wall Street Journal, which cited Afghan and Western officials in its report, Iran's motivations for stepping up support for the militants are to prevent ISIS from gaining a foothold in Afghanistan and providing a check on U.S. influence ahead of the planned withdrawal of most American troops by the end of 2016.
As the bloc's 12 oil ministers meet in Vienna, the march of Isil jihadists in the Middle East is putting Iran and Saudi Arabia on a collision course with explosive consequences. Washington s determination to pursue a nuclear deal with Iran has arguably destabilised the region by placing Riyadh and Tehran on a collision course. Saudis are dismayed that Iranian military advisers are aiding the assault to recapture Ramadi, a city in Iraq s Anbar Province which US forces fought so hard to secure 10 years ago.
Iran has deployed advanced rockets and missiles to Iraq to help fight the Islamic State in Tikrit, a significant escalation of firepower and another sign of Iran s growing influence in Iraq. Iran has not yet launched any of the weapons, but American officials fear the rockets and missiles could further inflame sectarian tensions and cause civilian casualties because they are not precision guided.
At a time when President Obama is under political pressure from congressional Republicans over negotiations to rein in Tehran s nuclear ambitions, a startling paradox has emerged: Mr. Obama is becoming increasingly dependent on Iranian fighters as he tries to contain the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria without committing American ground troops.
Speaking about Soleimani, the IRGC top gun General Jaafari said he was the focus of attention of the enemies and he was the bulwark of resistance in Iraq and Syria against the enemies. These words were in contrast to Jaafari s remarks just a few weeks earlier when he had said that Iran only provided advisory assistance to Syria s Bashar regime. In other words, after DAESH gained ground in Iraq, the Islamic republic of Iran stopped masking its involvement in Iraq and Syria and began to openly pronounce that it not only had direct military presence in Iraq and Syria, but that this was at the highest possible level, the i.e., the foreign presence of a senior military commander of the Revolutionary Guards.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has responded to overtures from U.S. President Barack Obama amid nuclear talks by sending him a secret letter, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. Citing an Iranian diplomat, the paper said the Iranian cleric had written to Obama in recent weeks in response to a presidential letter sent in October. Obama's letter suggested the possibility of U.S.-Iranian cooperation in fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) if a nuclear deal was secured, the paper said, quoting the diplomat. Khamenei's letter was "respectful" but noncommittal, it quoted the diplomat as saying.