Attacks on the US Embassy in Baghdad this week were in part lead by Hadi al-Amiri of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
What’s the significance of that? I’m glad you asked.
Amiri was a commander of the Badr Corps, a group backed by the IRGC, during Saddam Hussein’s rule. The Badr Corps was “perhaps the single most powerful Shi’ite paramilitary group in Iraq,” according to Reuters.
During the time period of 2004 to 2006, the Badr Corps lead a brutal war against Iraq’s Sunni population. “Hadi al-Amiri personally stands accused of ordering attacks on up to 2,000 Sunnis,” the Washington Post reported.
According to the Post, a US State Department leaked that “One of [Amiri’s] preferred methods of killing allegedly involved using a power drill to pierce the skulls of his adversaries.”
Fox News reported:
“A U.S. federal indictment has linked al-Amiri to a 1996 attack in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 U.S. Air Force servicemen.”
The attack was on the Khobar Towers in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, on June 25, 1996, where American military personnel were housed. A bomb was set off in the towers.
So, he’s a great dude.
In 2011, Amiri was allowed into the White House with then-Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to visit former President Obama. Apparently Amiri was the prime minister’s transportation minister.
The purpose of the Iraqi officials’ invitations was to officially declare the end of the Iraqi War.
Many were alarmed at Amiri’s presence at the meeting, citing concern over Iraq growing closer to Iran and away from the US with the pull out of US military forces.
Louis J. Freeh was FBI director in the Clinton administration and the early months of the George W. Bush administration. He said it was shocking that Amiri would be included in a White House visit. Freeh said that Amiri and the IRGC were involved in “countless acts of terrorism, which are acts of war against the United States.”
Freeh also said:
“[The] FBI would love to sit down and talk to him, show him photographs and ask him questions” regarding the Khobar Towers indictment.
Fox News reported on the Obama administration’s “tough stance” against the IRGC, pointing out that a White House official had said:
“…as an example of the administration cracking down on the IRGC, the Treasury Department just slapped sanctions on two Iranian military officials, one the deputy commander of the IRGC.”
Oooooooh. Sanctions. That will teach them to kill our soldiers.
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So they “slap” sanctions on the IRGC, and then invite one of its leaders into our nation’s capital.
Well, thanks for trying, Obama, but your gesture of good will didn’t cause a change of heart in Amiri, which we found out at the US Embassy in Baghdad this week.
Kataib Hezbollah (KH), a US designated foreign terrorist organization, is one of the most powerful Iranian proxy forces in the Middle East. It’s also supported by the IRGC. Last week, KH launched a rocket attack that killed a civilian American contractor.
In response, American forces struck KH targets; 3 in western Iraq and 2 in eastern Syria. US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the targets were “weapons storage and command and control facilities.”
“What we did was take a decisive response that makes clear what President Trump has said for months and months and months, which is that we will not stand for the Islamic Republic of Iran to take actions that put American men and women in jeopardy.”
Esper added that the U.S. “will take additional actions as necessary to ensure that we act in our own self-defense and we deter further bad behavior from militia groups or from Iran.”
The airstrikes against KH targets killed 25 people.
After the funeral service held for the deceased, Amiri and other dangerous and violent paramilitary leaders gathered their troops and took to the US Embassy to protest the attack.
Protestors set fire to the embassy walls and stormed through the gate chanting “Down, Down USA!” US forces responded with tear gas and stun grenades.
They carried posters of the dead men, knocked over street signs, set fire to trailers used by US Security, and said they “would burn the US embassy and its consulate in Erbil.”
One militia member spoke to a reporter and said:
“This is a letter to Trump and the American embassy in Baghdad and its consulate in Erbil and in Basra … those who have attacked our forces and our Jihadi brothers … god willing, if this fire reaches inside of the embassy, we will not spare a single employee, we are the children of the martyrs and this is our statement, death to America.”
It’s been reported that the protestors plan to do a “sit-in” outside the embassy “until American troops leave Iraq and the embassy is closed.”
President Trump responded to this attack immediately, sending 100 US Marines to the embassy to enhance security there.
“We have taken appropriate force protection actions to ensure the safety of American citizens, military personnel and diplomats in country, and to ensure our right of self-defense,” said Esper. “We are sending additional forces to support our personnel at the Embassy.”
President Trump also posted on Twitter:
“Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible. In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!”
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