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Iran’s top general tells Iraqi militias in Baghdad to ‘prepare for a proxy war’

Iran’s top general tells Iraqi militias in Baghdad to ‘prepare for a proxy war’ amid escalating tensions with the U.S.

  • Iran’s top general met with Iraqi militias in Baghdad and told them to ‘prepare for proxy war’ amid recent escalating tensions between Washington and Tehran 
  • Qassem Suleimani is leader of the powerful Quds force –  an elite arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard specializing in guerrilla warfare and intelligence gathering 
  • The major general summoned the militias three weeks ago in a bid to mobilize the country’s regional allies as its fraught relationship with the U.S. deteriorated 
  • In reaction to the meeting, the U.S. evacuated all non-essential diplomatic personnel from its embassy in Baghdad and from Erbil – some 200 miles north
  • Suleimani has proved a crucial military strategist and powerbroker in Iraq and Syria, spearheading Iran’s campaign to consolidate its presence in the region
  • Despite thawing tensions between the two countries under the Obama administration, Iran’s relationship with the U.S. soured dramatically since 2016
  • Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal brokered by his predecessor before enforcing a series of sanctions designed to cripple Iran’s struggling economy 
  • Iran’s supreme leader said on Tuesday that ‘there is not going to be any war’ with the U.S. but that there will also be no renegotiation of the nuclear deal 

Iran’s top general has met with Iraqi militias in Baghdad and told them to ‘prepare for proxy war’ amid escalating tensions between Washington and Tehran. 

Qassem Suleimani, leader of Iran’s powerful Quds force – which specializes in guerrilla warfare – summoned the militias three weeks ago in a bid to mobilize the country’s regional allies as its already fraught relationship with the U.S. deteriorates.

The move has ignited a swarm of frantic diplomatic activity between Washington, London and Baghdad as officials fear Iraq could become the setting stage for conflict between the two major forces.

Qassem Suleimani (pictured center), leader of Iran’s powerful Quds force – which specializes in guerrilla warfare – summoned the militias three weeks ago in a bid to mobilize the country’s regional allies as its already fraught relationship with the U.S. deteriorates

In reaction to the meeting, the U.S. decided to evacuate all non-essential diplomatic personnel from its embassy in Baghdad, and in Erbil – some 200 miles north. While, on its military bases, the threat level was raised.

According to the source, Suleimani has met regularly with leaders of Iraq’s various Shia groups, however this meeting’s tone was more severe, the Guardian reports.

‘It wasn’t quite a call to arms, but it wasn’t far off,’ the source said.

The ominous maneuvering comes against a backdrop of soaring tensions in recent weeks with a war of words between Washington and Tehran.

There have been accusations of sabotage attacks on oil tankers off the coast of the UAE, drone attacks on Saudi pipelines claimed by Yemeni rebels allied to Iran and, crucially, the dispatch of U.S. warships and bombers to the region.

Last week, officials said they had detected signs of Iranian preparations for potential attacks on U.S. forces and interests in the Middle East, but Washington has not publicly released any evidence to support claims of an increased Iranian threat. 

In reaction to the meeting, the U.S. decided to evacuate all non-essential diplomatic personnel from its embassy in Baghdad (pictured), and in Erbil - some 200 miles north. While, on its military bases, the threat level was raised

In reaction to the meeting, the U.S. decided to evacuate all non-essential diplomatic personnel from its embassy in Baghdad (pictured), and in Erbil – some 200 miles north. While, on its military bases, the threat level was raised

Suleimani’s elite Quds force is an integral arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, which boast some half a million active military personnel.

Over the past 15 years, the Major General has been a crucial military strategist and powerbroker in Iraq and Syria, spearheading Iran’s campaign to consolidate its presence in the region.

Despite thawing tensions between the two countries under the Obama administration, Iran’s relationship with the U.S. soured dramatically as Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal brokered by his predecessor before enforcing a series of sanctions designed to cripple its economy.  

Despite thawing tensions between the two countries under the Obama administration, Iran's relationship with the U.S. soured dramatically as Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal brokered before enforcing a series of sanctions designed to cripple its economy

Despite thawing tensions between the two countries under the Obama administration, Iran’s relationship with the U.S. soured dramatically as Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal brokered before enforcing a series of sanctions designed to cripple its economy

However, Iran’s supreme leader said on Tuesday that ‘there is not going to be any war’ with the U.S. but that there will also be no renegotiation of the nuclear deal either.

In a speech to state officials, Ali Khamenei said the showdown between Iran and the U.S. was a test of resolve rather than a military encounter.

‘This face-off is not military because there is not going to be any war. Neither we nor them [the US] seek war. They know it will not be in their interest,’ he said.  

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo echoed the sentiments and said on Tuesday in Sochi, Russia: ‘We fundamentally do not seek a war with Iran.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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