US Military Estimates Pro-Iranian Shiite Forces in Iraq at 100,000

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US Military Estimates Pro-Iranian Shiite Forces in Iraq at 100,000

The US military believes that Iran-backed Shiite forces in Iraq now number from 80,000 up to 100,000 fighters. This force plays an important role in the fight against ISIS. Military spokesman Colonel Chris Garver confirmed the figure to Fox and raised “concern” that a significant part of the well-known Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) is Iranian backed.

There are rumors that Shiite militias will massively participate in the liberation of the Sunni-dominated city of Mosul from the ISIS terrorist group. The rumors came amid reports that Iran’s prominent military commander from the Syrian theater of operations, General Qassem Soleimani, has also deployed his troops to the outskirts of Mosu (reported by the US-basde “Long War Journal”). The reports argue that Soleimani is responsible for coordination of a joint operation of Iraqi government forces and the PMF.

However, Garver noted that the US is not coordinating operations with Iran:

“We are not coordinating with the Iranians in any way, we are not working with them in any way.” He said that “the government of Iraq comes up with the plan, we are supporting [their] plan for the seizure of Mosul.”

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  • chris chuba

    I wish I could find an honest assessment of two things regarding the Shiite militias in Iraq (I consider all U.S. based stories unreliable).

    1. How much do they identify being Iraqis vs being the equivalent of Iranian backed Hezbollah in Iraq, or Shiites. Actually, for all I know, Hezbollah might strongly associate with being Lebanese.

    2. What is their true track record in the past two years regarding their treatment of Sunnis. According to the western press, they are brutes. I don’t know if this is true or a propaganda campaign. Their record is probably mixed but I’d like to know.

    I think that we in the U.S. have hyperventilated too much about the existence of the Shiite militias. Put yourself in their position. Let’s suppose you are a patriotic Iraqi Shiite. You have two choices, 1. join an unproven, corrupt, partially U.S. trained army, or 2. fight alongside with people you grew up with. I can see reasonable people choosing door #2. Even in the U.S., state militias were prevalent before the national army became dominant in our history. It’s a bit much expecting them to act like West Point graduates in a few years.

    • Grieved

      From the commentary I’ve read from Middle Eastern analysts, the Sunni-Shia divide is a phony concept developed by the west. Articles such as the one above pursue the western line that says there’s a war on between Sunni and Shia, but this is not the case. Syria itself is the grand proof of the lie, where a majority of Sunni are fighting for the secular nation, against the so-called Sunni adversary.

      In the same way, the west wants to say there’s a war between Islam and Christianity or western secularism, something like that. But the actual war is waged by a total perversion of Islam, against Islam, Christianity, secularism – against everything except money and Zionism.

      That said, the Sunni and Shia doctrines seem to form majorities in large groupings of people in large areas, as far as I can see. So there will be conflicts based on areas and regions, and the interests of parties and organizations, and so forth, and it might be possible to describe these by their Sunni or Shia label, but this is a secondary label. The true conflicts are not between the Sunni and Shia doctrines, but between peoples and their interests, who happen to hold to one of the doctrines or another.

      I’ve read that the Takfiri doctrine only arose out of Sunni and not Shia doctrines. And perhaps this is because this perversion of Islam was possible in Sunni doctrine, but not in Shia, for doctrinal reasons that I can’t recall – perhaps, perhaps.

      In Saudi Arabia, the rulers are Sunni, while a large group of people who live in the actual oil-producing area are Shia, and more disadvantaged as a group. But I think if the House of Saud is ever overthrown and it happens that the oil fields fall into Shia hands, it won’t be because of a “war” between Sunni and Shia as such. It will be from the accidents of history, geography, demographics, and pipeline geology. The rest, I think, is smoke and mirrors.

      That’s my 2 cents – I offer it on the slim chance it may help. I know almost nothing about this. if someone knows better, I’m very prepared to learn, so please don’t jump all over me, simply add better information here. Thanks.

      • goingbrokes

        Grieved that is a solid start. I would add that the Shia Sunni division is not artificial. Historically it is there, but they have co-existed peacefully for centuries. The imperial doctrine consists of setting different (peaceful) groupings against each other, so you can rule over them. That’s why it was necessary, during the Maliki years in Iraq, to send outside death-squads to start killing sunni men and leave them in the streets! The British in India used to throw a dead cow into a Hindu temple and a dead pig in the mosque and that used to set the place in flames, again to rule over them.

        The Saudi Salafist doctrine is behind most extremism. It is nominally sunni, but most sunnis do not accept their extreme interpretation. The salafists have been trouble makers from the start. 1979 (from memory) they set up an armed rebellion and occupied the Grand mosque in Mecca, and had to be fought almost to the last man by the saudi army! The survivors were all executed later. The Saudis with their money have been exporting salfism to all corners of the world in the last two decades. That, and the money, was why the initial recruitment for the Islamic State was so easy!

      • Ahmad Tarmizi

        I am a Sunni Muslim from Malaysia, and i have been following the crisis in the middle east ever since i was a middle school student (and also a big fan of Middle East history). To be honest, I agree with most of your opinions, especially regarding the fact that the Western power are now trying very hard to divide the Muslim world by propagating the Sunni-Shia civil war, with the Sunnis especially claiming the Shiite as infidels.

        What is always not mentioned (to be precise, never mentioned) in the media is the fact that throughout 1400 years of Islamic history, there is not a single time that Shiite Muslims are not allowed to enter the Holy Lands to perform the Hajj (pilgrimage). It is worthwhile to be mentioned here that in the Holy Koran, Allah strictly instruct the Muslims to maintain the purity of the Grand Mosque in Mecca by prohibiting infidels from entering it (Quran, 9:28). By allowing the Shiite Muslims to enter the Holy Land for 1400 years indicate to us that historically, true scholars of Islam never regard them as infidels, but rather as heretics.

        Having said that, if I was born as a Sunni Muslims either in Iraq or Syria and have the choice either to fight alongside the “Sunni” ISIS or the Shiite militias, I would rather fight alongside with the latter side. ISIS and al-Qaeda are nothing but a virus to this divine religion.

  • Listen to this pro-Zionist news article. They are not pro-Iranian forces. They are pro-Iraqi forces.
    Iran helps train them yes. But that it like saying because Russia trains Syrian forces, they all the SAA are pro-Russian forces. That is not true.
    They are pro-Syrian forces, and Russia helps train them.
    Iran is the victim here, not the perpetrator.
    Israel the UK and USSA and NATO are the perpetrators. They destroyed Iraq and caused instability.
    Iraqis are proud Iraqis. Iran wants a stable neighbor free from terrorism.
    So it is in both Nations interest for Iran to assist them in their fight against their common enemy.
    Terrorist who are being actively trained by the UK’s SAS.

    • goingbrokes

      Good point! I think the US means Iranian Shiite forces. Ideologically I would imagine that they are pro-Iraqi Iranians! If they are Iraqis they are just Iraqis, who can vouch for their pro anything status! Laughable tangle!

  • Ronald

    The large numbers in this estimate suggests it is not correct. This ” concern” that they are Iranian backed, ( meaning controlled )and large in number, is possibly an argument to be used to “rationalize” a strike against Iran. With China signaling support for Syria, that theater will become a no win situation. The real goal all along has been to take out Iran. Hopefully , the Russian air force with visitor status at an Iranian airport will curtail any plans of an immediate direct attack.