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Iran's Quds Force!

Interesting Article: US alleges Iranian plot to kill Saudi ambassador: How it unfolded by WARREN RICHEY / Washington, DC published Tuesday, October 12, 2011
The recent plot that was uncovered by the FBI and DEA, comes straight out of a movie; meetings in Mexico with drug cartel members, surveillance, bomb plots, a popular restaurant in DC, money transfers, code names and DEA confidential sources. The plot revolved around a branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard known as the Quds force. So what is this group within Iran's Revolutionary Guard?

According to the Christian Science Monitor, the attorney general had stated that federal agents had acted on information that senior members of a special operations branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard were responsible for the plot. Charges were filed in federal court in Manhattan against Manssor Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old naturalized US citizen, and Gholam Shakuri, a colonel in the Iran-based Quds Force (Al-Quds is Arabic for Jerusalem), a commando group accused by the US of sponsoring terror attacks outside Iran. The Quds Force reports directly to the Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (Supreme Leader of Iran and the figurative head of the Muslim conservative establishment in Iran and Twelver Shi'a marja. In 2010, Forbes selected him 26th in the list of 'World's Most Powerful People'). The Quds Force has been described as "tasked with exporting" Iran's Islamic revolution, or "responsible for extraterritorial operations" of the Revolutionary Guard (a branch of Iran's military, founded after the Iranian revolution-Whereas the regular military defends Iran's borders and maintains internal order, according to the Iranian constitution, the Revolutionary Guard is intended to protect the country's Islamic system. In fact, according to some outside observers, it is intended to prevent internal dissident and military uprisings). While little is reliably known about the force by outsiders, as of 2007, its size was estimated at 15,000 troops and operatives. (The Revolutionary Guards have 125,000 military personnel including ground, air and naval forces. It also controls the paramilitary Basij (volunteer militia established in 1979 by order of the Islamic Revolution's leader Ayatollah Khomeini) militia which has 90,000 active personnel. The Quds Force was created during the Iran-Iraq war as a special unit from the broader Revolutionary Guards forces. After the war, Quds Force continued to support the Kurds fighting Saddam Hussein (during the war it had helped the Kurds fight the Iraqi military). The Quds also expanded their operations into other areas, most notably aiding Northern Alliance against the Soviets during the Soviet war in Afghanistan and then helping after the war against Taliban forces. There were also reports of the Quds forces lending support to Muslim Bosnians fighting the Serbs during the Yugoslav wars. Quds force is organized into eight different directorates based on geographic location: 1) Western countries, 2) Iraq, 3) Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, 4) Israel, Lebanon, and Jordan, 5) Turkey, 6) North Africa, 7) Arabian peninsula, 8) Republics of the former USSR. The Quds force has four main areas of interest: 1. Hezbollah (a Shi'a Muslim militant group and political party based in Lebanon, a known terrorist organization), 2. Iraqi Kurdistan, 3. Kashmir, the Balouch and Afghanistan, 4. And most recently Yemen. In the past the Quds force has also supported the establishment of Hezbollah branches in Jordan and Israel. The Quds Force trains and equips foreign Islamic revolutionary groups around the Middle East. The para-military instruction provided by the Quds Force typically occurs in Iran or Sudan. Foreign recruits are transported from their home countries to Iran to receive training. The Quds Force sometimes plays a more direct role in the military operations of the forces it trains, including pre-attack planning and other operation-specific military advice. The Quds Force has been active for some time, some of the more known activities are for example; in August 2010, the U.S. Treasury department added four Iranian Quds Force commanders to its list of specially designated global terrorists, two of whom are charged with directly providing support for the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan. In Iraq, both the Iraqi government and the US military have said Iran has backed various Shia terror groups, including elements of the Mahdi Army (an Iraqi paramilitary force created by the Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr). While the Iranian government has denied the charges, Iraqi and US forces have detained dozens of Iranian Quds Force officers and operatives in Iraq, captured numerous Shia terrorist leaders under Iranian command, and have found ample documentation as well as Iranian-made weapons. In 2007, the Pentagon reported that it is seriously investigating Iran's involvement in the Provincial Joint Coordination Center attack in Karbala (Iraq), which resulted in the kidnapping and execution of four U.S. soldiers. Five soldiers total were killed in the operation, and three others wounded. In 2009, according to a Wall Street Journal Report, Osama bin Laden's son coordinated communications between al Qaeda's second-in-command and Iran's Quds Force, Sa'ad had entered Pakistan's northwest to meet with Zawahiri (al Qaeda leader) in Pakistan sometime in early September, 2008. On Jan. 16, the US treasury designated Sa'ad bin Laden and three members of al Qaeda's shura majlis, or executive council, as terrorists under Executive Order 13224. Sa'ad and the three other men are known to be senior al Qaeda planners, commanders, and financiers. In early 2011, Bill Roggio gave an excellent report on the fact that the Quds Force had established a wing known as "Ansar Corps" to facilitate, arm, and train al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda's purported interim commander, Saif al Adel, is closely linked to Quds Force and lived in Iran for years under protective custody. As mentioned in my blog entry from a while back, Muqtada al-Sadr, a powerful Shia Iraqi leader lived in Iran for some time, as well. The latest Quds force activity included an old name as well, according Thomas Joscelyn from the Long War Journal; The U.S Treasury Department has designated five individuals involved in an alleged plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S, including Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF). Soleimani "oversees the IRGC-QF officers who were involved in this plot," according to Treasury. Another of the five is Abdul Reza Shahlai, an IRGC-QF officer who planned the Jan. 20, 2007 attack on US soldiers stationed in Karbala, Iraq. That attack left five US soldiers dead and wounded three others. Shahlai was previously designated by the Treasury Department in Sept. 2008. At the time, Treasury noted that he was a "deputy commander" in the IRGC-QF and planned "Jaysh al-Mahdi (JAM) Special Groups attacks against Coalition Forces in Iraq." The Iranians are playing a very dangerous game, what they hoped to accomplish with this assassination is a mystery, but it is important to know that their belief, and designation as Twelver Shi'a marja is, you see they are known to believe that Muhammad al-Mahdi (the 12th Imam) will reappear when the world has fallen into chaos and civil war emerges between the human race for no reason. (Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated, "Our revolution's main mission is to pave the way for the reappearance of the 12th Imam, the Mahdi."). Anton La Guardia, writing in London's Daily Telegraph: "Iran's president actually relishes a clash with the West in the conviction that it would rekindle the spirit of the Islamic revolution and (possibly) speed up the arrival of the Hidden Imam." Princeton professor Bernard Lewis observes, "There is a radical difference between the Islamic Republic of Iran and other governments with nuclear weapons. This difference is expressed in what can only be described as the apocalyptic worldview of Iran’s present rulers." The most dangerous leaders in history are those like Hitler, Hirohito and Ahmadinejad, fueled by a totalitarian ideology and a mystical belief system. Ahmadinejad accepts that the return of the 12th Imam is imminent. Furthermore, he is certain of his own duty to hasten the Mahdi's return. This explains the many years of hidden preparation as Iran built its nuclear weapons, which are designed to both mete out punishment to us and pave the way for their apocalypse. The faster this group is taken out, the safer the world will be.

"Profile: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei". BBC News. 2009-06-17.
IISS Military Balance 2006, Routledge for the IISS, London, 2006, p.187
Profile: Iran's Revolutionary Guards
Iran's Revolutionary Guards: Quds Force, Telegraph, May 10, 2007
Richter, Paul (2007-10-24). "U.S.: Top Iranians direct Iraq missions". Los Angeles Times.
Anthony Cordesman and Martin Kleiber, Iran's Assymetric Warfighting Capablities. Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Affairs. 2007, quoted in Wright, Robin, Dreams and Shadows : the Future of the Middle East, Penguin Press, 2008, p.333
Wright, Robin, Dreams and Shadows : the Future of the Middle East, Penguin Press, 2008, p.333
Shane, Scott. "Iranian Force, Focus of U.S., Still a Mystery", The New York Times, February 17, 2007.
Lake, Eli. "Iran's Secret Plan For Mayhem", The New York Sun, January 3, 2007.
US congressional report: Iran offering support to al-Qaida. The Jerusalem Post. May 5, 2011


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