Thursday, June 18, 2015

Iraqi Prime Minister, Army Chief of Staff and PMF leader in Tehran

Commentary on Iran media imagery depicting Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's state visit to Tehran on 17JUN15:

Iraqi prime minister delegation arrived at Tehran -Mehrabad International Airport on 17JUN15 at 07:55 hrs. They would depart for Baghdad International Airport same day, at 17:44 hrs.

Aircraft is Iraqi Airways Being 737-81Z, reg. YI-ASF (cn 40105), a recent construction delivered to Iraq on 17DEC13.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi reviews Iranian honor guard, with Iranian First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri. Ground transport for the prime minister appears to be late model Mercedes-Benz S-class.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi meets with Iran Navy Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran. It should be noted Shamkhani held a previous post as IRGC-N commander.

The Iraqi prime minister appears much more cordial with his hosts then on his previous visit to Tehran, which took place not long after he was selected for his post based primarily on American preferences at the time.

The Iraqi prime minister's visit came the same day that USSECDEF Ash Carter told a congressional hearing the United States called for a "greater commitment" from Iraq's government in the fight against ISIL, as it lamented Baghdad's failure to deliver enough soldiers for training and underscored the need to empower Sunni tribesmen.

Meanwhile, Iraq’s Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jabouri is in the United States to rally military support for Sunni forces, seeking assistance with arming a Sunni force to include up to 10,000 recruits from local tribes and other groups.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi gestures approvingly towards Iraqi Deputy Chairman of Popular Mobilization Committee Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, as the latter shakes hands with Iranian Presdient Hassan Rouhani.

Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis is a PMF field commander and former Kata'ib Hezbollah commander, more recently participating in the Second Battle of Tikrit. He remains designated a terrorist by USG for armed resistance activities directed against the preceding U.S. military occupation, and before that was assisted by IRGC in efforts targeting the Baath regime of Saddam Hussein.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi meets with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei

Among those seated in the room with SL Khamenei and PM Abadi is General Babakir Zebari, chief of staff of the Iraqi Army (outfitted in civvies, fourth from left).

General Zebari, an ethnic Kurd, spent a period of exile in Iran some thirty years ago, followed by periods of Iranian-assisted efforts against Saddam Hussein and Baath regime.

A seldom seen expand view of hall where Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei appears photographed with visiting foreign dignitaries.

Photos: Islamic Republic News Agency

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