Iranian Involvement in the Iraqi Civil War

Iranian Involvement in the Iraqi Civil War


Mounir Elkhamri
Middle East Military Analyst, Foreign Military Studies Office
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

January 24, 2007
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

The Jamestown Foundation

Floor Board Room
1111 16th St. NW
Washington, DC 20036

While the United States and its Coalition partners have been focusing on countering the Sunni-led insurgency, the Shiite militias have grown not only in social, political and military strength, but also in external backing. Although rumors circulated at the onset of the U.S. invasion of Iraq that Iran was aligning itself with the political parties in Kurdish and Shiite populated areas, little examination let alone counter actions were taken to validate the claims. Since then, Iran’s presence in Iraq has only grown. Last week, for instance, five Iranians were arrested in the Iraqi city of Irbil for suspected ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard – Qods Force (IRGC-QF).

In keeping with the official U.S. policy toward Iran, the Coalition’s position on the activities of the IRGC is that it has been providing funds, weapons, improvised explosive device technology and training to extremist groups attempting to destabilize the government of Iraq and attack Coalition forces. If, in fact, the reality of the growing sectarian violence in Iraq becomes a full-scale civil war, as many experts have suggested, a thorough analysis of external forces operating behind the political and personal militias, such as Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigade, must be taken for the Bush administration’s new “surge” tactic to be effective.

The Jamestown Foundation is honored to have Mounir Elkhamri, Middle East Military Analyst at the Foreign Military Studies Office Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, present his forth-coming paper, “Iran’s Contribution to the Civil War in Iraq,” to be distributed by The Jamestown Foundation. Having recently returned from an 18-month tour in Iraq where he worked with a logistics brigade, a maneuver battalion and a Special Forces ODA team, Mounir Elkhamri brings a unique and first-hand perspective to the growing Iranian involvement in Iraq. His native fluency in Arabic helped him serve as a cultural advisor and translator for various high-ranking officials including former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalizad, General George Casey and Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice.

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