Iranian forces integrate in Iraqi defense establishment

The powerful Iranian-backed PMF, Popular Mobilization Forces, has reportedly become an integral part of the Iraqi defense forces, assuming positions, among others, along the country’s border with Syria. According to the top border commander of the PMF, the only forces capable of defending Iraq’s sovereignty, are the Shi’ite militias which operate under the directives of Iran’s revolutionary guards – which were the most brutal force in eradicating the Islamic State from Iraq. According to Qasim Muslih, Border Commander of Iranian-backed PMF, “The only force capable of fending off and responding to any attacks are the Popular Mobilization Forces. But today the forces that are along the border are the PMF, the Iraqi army, border police forces, federal police and forces of the Rapid Response unit. These are all military units within the system belonging to Iraq and everyone is working together, we have no differences between this unit or that. We are saying that today we are able to control our borders and protect our country.” While the PMF has fought the Islamic State, it is perceived by the West as the most powerful threat to security in the Middle East, considering its direct link to the Ayatollah regime in Tehran. Furthermore, the Popular Mobilization Forces have been the main operators of the transfer of sophisticated weaponry from Iran, through Iraq, to Syria and Lebanon. That said, to the regret of the Shi’ite militias and their Iranian masters, the United States has established a military presence on the Syrian side of the border with Iraq, which significantly challenges the Iranian dominance in the area. The Border Commander of Iranian-backed PMF said “The Americans launched mortar attacks against our positions despite knowing that these were our positions and they attacked our headquarters. This has created a sort of tension and a sort of gap. In addition to that the Americans began intervening and building U.S. positions along the Iraqi-Syrian border.” As part of the U.S. policy, which has changed in recent months for a more-prolonged stay in the chaotic region – a U.S. official told TV7 that the American presence has effectively diminished Iran’s ability to continue its expansionist aspirations across the region. The re-imposed sanctions against the Islamic Republic and the U.S.-backed operations in the region has dealt a massive blow to the mullah’s in Tehran.