Fox News, citing a senior U.S. intelligence official, said today that the Iranian officials are “fuming” over Iraq joining forces with the U.S. in the fight for Tikrit.
“They are really pissed that Iraq is choosing to partner with the U.S. in the battle for Tikrit,” the official said. (Fox News, 27 March)
Iran-led Shia militia groups Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) and Kataib Hezbollah (KH) have already withdrawn from the fight, protesting U.S. airstrikes. Fox News, citing the official, said Iran has ordered other Shia militia groups, including Badr Organization, out of the area, and in some cases out of Iraq.
“They will probably send them to Yemen,” said the official.
It was not clear whether Iran has also pulled out its own advisers, operators and military equipment from Tikrit area. Before the U.S. involvement, Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, aided by senior Quds Force officers, was personally in command of the operations in Tikrit and Iran had deployed sizable military equipment, such as artillery, to the theater.
File photo: Iraqi security forces prepare to attack ISIL positions in Tikrit; 26 March 2015 (AP/Fox News)