Senior Qods Force link captured in Karbala
Bill Roggio, whose new site has a better name, the Long War Journal, describes the arrest of a senior Qods official in Karbalah, which you will recall was the site of recent fighting between the Madhi Army and the Badr Brigades.
On September 5, Coalition forces announced the capture of "a highly-sought individual suspected of being an Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) affiliate" during a raid in Karbala.
The Special Groups agent, who has not been identified, is "suspected of coordinating with high-level IRGC-QF officers for the transportation of multiple Iraqis to Iran for terrorist training at IRGC-QF training camps." The suspect also serves as a logistical operative and "is closely linked to individuals at the highest levels of the IRGC-QF. Coalition forces are still assessing his possible connection to the Special Groups." Documents, photographs, communications equipment, and computers were found during the raid on his home.
But here's the interesting part. There's a link between Qods operations in Iraq and the Hezbollah. That shouldn't be surprising because the Hezbollah has close links and sponsorship from Iran. The same people go back and forth.
Information obtained from this latest raid likely will shed more light on the leadership and organization of the Special Groups, the identity of their Iranian Qods Force handlers, and their current plans in Iraq. In the past, the capture of senior Special Groups operatives has led to a wealth of information on the Iranian network. The most significant operation occurred in the spring of 2007, when the US captured Ali Mussa Daqduq.
Daqduq is a senior Hezbollah operative who was tasked by Iran to organize the Special Groups and "rogue" Mahdi Army cells along the lines of Lebanese Hezbollah. Documents seized during Daqduq's capture, along with statements made during interrogations and information given by other captured Special Groups operatives confirmed Iran's significant role in the Shia terrorist insurgency.
Recently, Muqtada al Sadr admitted in an interview with The Independent that his Mahdi Army trained and received guidance from Hezbollah. Sadr's aide later denied the interview took place. Lebanese Hezbollah is essentially the foreign wing of Iran's Qods Force.
The regional scope of Iran's campaign against the US, and the close links between Hezbollah and Iranian security forces is the subject of Michael Ledeen's book, The Iranian Timebomb, which I review extensively at Pajamas Media. You don't have to go along with all of Ledeen's propositions to accept the basic assertion that Iran is playing a deadly game both against the US and Israel in the Middle East. What Roggio's article describes are some of the counterstrokes the US is dealing out. My guess is that, given the political reluctance to declare openly against Iran, that there's a lot more of where that came from.