MESOP INSIDER: Iraq requests participation of Iran’s Soleimani in Mosul campaign: report
A “high-level source” in the Tehran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces spoke with Al-Akhbar on the Mosul offensive against ISIS. – BEIRUT NOWMEDIA 17 Oct 2016 – – The Iraqi government has allegedly asked General Qassem Soleimani to take part in the newly-announced offensive on Mosul, according to a Lebanese daily supportive of Hezbollah. A “high-level source” in the Tehran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces spoke with Al-Akhbar on the Mosul campaign against ISIS, which kicked off in the early hours of October 17 following months of preparation.
According to the source, Baghdad requested that Soleimani “participate” in the campaign, however the unidentified Popular Mobilization figure did not go into any details on the potentially dramatic move.The head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force has served as Tehran’s point-man on battlefields in Iraq and Syria, with his public presence near the frontlines serving as a propaganda boon for Iranian-supported fighting forces.
However, Soleimani’s influence in Iraq was reportedly criticized last year by highly influential Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, whose 2014 religious ruling on the defense of Iraq against ISIS set the stage for the creation of the Popular Mobilization Forces.
The source in the umbrella organization also told Al-Akhbar that Popular Mobilization combatants mobilized outside Mosul were not coordinating with the US-led international coalition, which has supported Iraqi government forces as well the Kurdish Peshmerga.
The source, who remained anonymous, claimed that the “coalition’s participation in the battle does not mean anything” to the Popular Mobilization, a government-sponsored collection of mainly Shiite paramilitary groups which the US has avoided providing official support. NOW’s English news desk editor Albin Szakola (@AlbinSzakola) wrote this report. Amin Nasr translated Arabic-language material.