Iran sends troops and drones to fight ISIS

We've noted reports that Iranian forces have intervened in northern Iraq to help fight ISIS, part of the Great Power convergence against the self-declared "Islamic State." Now Reuters reports that the commander of the Revolutionary Guards' elite Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, traveled to Baghdad in June to coordinate the military counter-offensive as ISIS seized the north of the country. According to the report, "The plan included the use of thousands of militiamen who were armed and trained by Iran as well as thousands of new recruits who had volunteered after Iraq's most senior Shi'ite cleric, Ayatollah Ali Sistani, issued a call to arms against ISIS in June." Iran has always been close to the Shi'ite-led regime in Baghdad, but now there also seems to be a rapprochement between Tehran and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), traditionally suspicious of each other. The Kurdish Globe reports that KRG President Masoud Barzani met with the visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif in Erbil on Aug. 26 to discuss coordinating the fight against ISIS. The independent Kurdish news site BasNews also reported Sept. 1 that an Iranian drone crashed in a village near the Iraqi Kurdistan town of Darbandikhan close to the Iranian border. Tehran's denials that it has forces fighting in Iraq seem increasingly transparent.

  1. Kerry: Iran has a ‘role to play’ against ISIS

    While Iran (in contrast to such beacons of secular democracy as Saudi Arabia) has specifically not been invited to join the US-led 40-nation coalition against ISIS, Secretary of State John Kerry said Sept. 19 that "there is a role for nearly every country to play, including Iran."

  2. Quds Force commander wounded in Iraq?

    Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani was wounded in an ISIS suicide attack while traveling near Samara, Iraq, according to Jewish newspaper Algemeiner citing Israeli media sources.The report claims Soleimani was evacuated to Tehran, where he remains hospitalized.