Biden bombed the Iraqi Army in Syria on the Syrian border yesterday. Anywhere from 1 Iraqi Army soldier was killed and two were wounded. The only known casualty is a Sunni member of that division. The force there is known as the PMF, a pro-Iran militia that was formed a few years ago to fight ISIS in Iraq. The US calls the PMF an “Iranian militia,” but that’s not what they are. They were formerly independent but now they have been incorporated into the Iraqi Army itself. Probably most members are Shia, but there are also Sunnis, Christians, Yezidis, and Sabeans, in addition to both Kurds and Arabs in the PMF.
The group that Biden attacked is not really the group that carried out the attacks on US bases. US bases have been getting rocketed and mortared recently for some months now. The attacks are being claimed by shadowy, illegal underground Shia guerrilla formations. The US claims that these guerrillas are nothing but the PMF in disguise, but that’s not exactly true.
The following information about the nature of the illegal Shia guerrilla formations attacking US bases in Iraq comes from Elijah J. Magnier, a 30-year veteran war correspondent who has deep contacts in the Iranian and Iraqi governments and also in the PMF. His reporting has generally been on the money in the past. He is quite straightforward and puts little if any spin on his material, so it tends to be quite objective.
First of all, you must understand that Iraq is a very weak state and the Presidency is even weaker. Many Iraqis have decided for themselves to act independently to wage attacks on US forces, as they are seen as occupiers. The Iraqi government has ordered the US forces to leave Iraq, but the US has thumbed its nose at Iraq and says it’s not leaving! What arrogance. Hence, patriotic-minded Iraqis have taken it upon themselves to form guerrilla formations to attack the US bases and Embassy.
The question I have been asking for a long time now is, “Who exactly are these shadowy underground Shia guerrillas? Are they really just the PMF as the US says?”
I have now learned who these groups are, but it is complicated.
As noted, many Iraqis have taken it upon themselves to act independently to attack US bases and embassies. In this role they are acting independently of the Iraqi Army and the PMF because the Army and the PMF are not interested in attacking the US in Iraq at the moment for a variety of reasons. These guerrillas are mostly Shia and use Shia names and symbols. They do not take orders from Iran. They don’t take orders from anyone.
To give you an example of their independence from Iran, Iran is not happy that these Shia guerrillas are attacking the US Embassy because Iran is opposed to attacking anyone’s embassies or diplomatic missions. This is one lesson they have learned from 1979. However, these guerrillas march to their own drummer. They simply do what they want.
These guerrilla groups are known to locals because they operate in certain locales, so these are local Shia Iraqis who have formed illegal armed formations. They are very hard to find and catch because when they are not moonlighting as guerrillas, they hide in the Iraqi Army, the federal police, and the PMF. The Iraqi government is not interested in uncovering these forces anyway.
So the guerrillas are members of the Iraqi Army, federal police, and PMF who go off on their own to moonlight as guerrillas and carry out attacks on US targets and then return to their units to hide. They operate independently of all three units of the security forces.
One major question is where do they get their arms and funding. All of Iraq is a weapons depot anyway, so weapons should not be hard to find. I assumed that they were getting funding and arms from Iran, but I was wrong. The funding and arming of these Shia guerrillas who are attacking our bases comes directly from the Iraqi government itself. Nevertheless, even though they take a paycheck from the Iraqi government, they act on their own. They use Iraqi military weaponry on their own too. They take it from Iraqi security forces arms depots.
If you are wondering why the Iraqi government doesn’t step in and disarm or at least try to find these Shia guerrillas, the truth is that no one can go against these groups. They are too powerful and have too much support. Look at the situation with Moqtada al-Sadr. The Iraqi government cannot tell Sadr what to do either. He’s too powerful. He gets to do whatever he wants. As I noted above, political and military structures in Iraq are weak.
There are different tendencies in the Iraqi Shia, and it comes down to the individual level. Even within the PMF itself, there are Iraqi Shia who are obedient followers of Iran, others that are pro-Iran but act independently, and others who are anti-Iranian Iraqi nationalists associated with the Marjaya religious establishment around Ayatollah Sistani in Najaf. There are also Sunnis and members of other confessions.
Also, the PMF takes orders from the Iraqi government, not from anyone else, including Iran. None of the “Iranian-backed militias” ever took orders from Iran. They would meet with the Iranians and Iranians might give them a list of possible attacks they might carry out. Then they could choose from the list. For example, to show you how that these groups do not take orders from Iran, wanted the Houthis to advance on San’a early in the war, but the Houthis decided not to turned them down as they thought it was too risky at the time.
Iran doesn’t even give orders to Hezbollah. But they don’t need to as Iran and Hezbollah have aims and philosophies that are in great accord with each other.