By Davod Daoud
The head of the Badr Organization, an Iranian Shi’a proxy militia, Hadi al-Ameri – who is also a member of the Iraqi Parliament – credited Iranian general Qasem Soleimani with halting the advance of the Islamic State terror organization in Iraq.
Addressing concern over the extensive presence of Iranian military personnel in Iraq, al-Ameri said, “whoever is talking about the Iranian advisors must give them respect and honor, for if not for them or the presence of the brother Qasem Soleimani (the leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force), Iraq would have been entirely under the control of ISIS, and the Iraqi people must erect a statue to this hero out of gratitude and recognition.”
He added that “the presence of the Iranian experts who are accompanying the Hashed Al-Shaabi [popular committee] forces in the battles going on in Salahuddin province is a source of pride.”
He then questioned the “sensitivity of some over the presence of Iranian advisors, even though there are over 4 thousand American advisors in Iraq?!”
Al-Ameri, in an interview with As-Sharq Al-Awsat that took place on the front in Salahuddin province and close to its center of Tikrit – where he is leading Badr’s fighters – said that, “Iranian advisors accompany us on the field of battle and offer the best expertise and advice, and we are proud of them, and they will join us in the effort to liberate Ninwah and Al-Anbar entirely, after we liberate Tikrit and Kirkuk.”
On the other hand, Al-Ameri warned, “our brothers the residents of Salahuddin province, and Al-Anbar and Mosul, do not trust the American forces, because they are incapable of liberating one Iraqi village…today your own people are the ones who are capable of liberating Iraq’s lands from the impurity of ISIS,” noting, “the participation of our brothers in the Islamic Republic [of Iran], without anything in return, in contrast to what the Americans are doing, after they gave us weapons for a price from Iraq’s own money and place thousands of limitations on their use.”
Al-Ameri said that these conditions and limitations were a clear indication of the US Administration’s “hatred for the people of Al-Anbar and Salahuddin.”
The US Administration has noted its concern over the presence of Iranian forces and advisors on the ground, fighting alongside Iraqi forces to liberate Tikrit from ISIS, according to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.
Meanwhile, as the Iraqi army – supported by the Hashed Al-Shaabi forces and Iranian experts – continued its operations in the northern sector of Tikrit, the “Sulaymaniyah Forum” concluded with a speech from US General David Petraeus – former commander of US forces in Iraq and later the director of the CIA. Petraeus, who has now returned to Iraq in a civilian role, has said that “You can leave Iraq, but Iraq will not leave you.” Petraeus noted the need for a “moderate force on the ground in Iraq,” praising the Kurdish peshmerga’s role in fighting ISIS.