Iran officially named Brig. Gen. Iraj Masjedi as its new ambassador to Iraq, Al Monitor reported on February 13. The choice of Masjedi to the post is raising concerns inside Iraq that Iran plans to strengthen its grip over the nation after the Islamic State is defeated.
Masjedi is an adviser to Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (irgc) Quds Force Cmdr. Qassem Soleimani, a man who reports directly to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Since Saddam Hussein’s regime ended with the United States invasion of Iraq, Iran’s three ambassadors to Iraq have all come from the ranks of the irgc. Some observers say Mesejedi is the most hard-line of them all and quite possibly a war criminal. Soon after his appointment was announced a member of Iraq’s parliament reluctantly called the foreign ministry to discover the truth to the claim.
More important than whether Mesjedi has committed war crimes, however, is what his placement reveals about Iran’s future plans for Iraq.
According to Amir Toumaj from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies:
Masjedi’s military background provides insight into Iran’s designs for Iraq. During the Iran-Iraq War (1980–88), he established his credentials at the Ramezan Base, where he coordinated special operations behind enemy lines and worked with Iraqi insurgents. A number of these Iraqi insurgents have risen to key positions in the post-Saddam era. During the U.S. occupation, Masjedi was involved in directing Quds Force operations against U.S. and coalition forces—operations that killed at least 500 U.S. troops. Masjedi vowed last year that Iran would fight in Iraq and Syria until the last “takfiri” fighters are killed, and last month praised the pmf [Popular Mobilization Forces] as the “irgc’s next step.”
The former governor of Iraq’s Nineveh province, Atheel al-Nujaifi, analyzed Iran’s decision this way:
There is no doubt that appointing Masjedi, who is a top adviser to commander Qassem Soleimani, as an ambassador to Iraq has implications that go beyond the diplomatic scope of work.
Masjedi’s military experience and ties with the armed factions in Iraq and Syria will affect the type of relations he holds in Iraq as well as the relations between the two countries, at a time the region is getting ready to start a new chapter in the post-Islamic State period.
That new chapter, as described often by the Trumpet, is the gradual transformation of Iraq from an autonomous and independent state into a virtual proxy of Iran. This process has been achieved through the Iraqi governments reliance on Shiite militias in the fight against the Islamic State. A Toumaj wrote:
After the Iraqi army disintegrated in the wake of the Islamic State’s conquests, the Quds Force and irgc-backed militias stepped in to fill the void. The latter joined the Popular Mobilization Forces (pmf), the umbrella organization of Iraqi militias formed following the 2014 fatwa of the Iraqi-Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani to drive the Islamic State from the country. irgc-backed militias now dominate the pmf. In November 2016, the Iraqi parliament officially incorporated the pmf into the Iraqi state, making it a legal military force separate from the national armed forces.
With close to 100,000 fighters, the pmf is the largest amalgamation of the numerous Shiite militias used in the fight against the Islamic State. While it is mainly comprised of Iraqi nationals, the pmf leadership takes orders from Iran. It follows that since the pmf is now officially part of the Iraqi security establishment, Iran has virtual control one of the largest ground forces inside Iraq.
By making Masjedi its ambassador to Iraq, Iran is looking to further solidify its control over the pmf once the Islamic State is fully defeated. Toumaj concluded:
Masjedi will work to ensure that the irgc-backed network of politicians and entities emerges victorious in post-Islamic State Iraq. The incoming U.S. administration should prioritize supporting Iraqis who seek a brighter future over those aligned with the dictatorship next door.
However, according to biblical prophecy, the United States government will not be able to reverse Iraq’s fall to Iran. In 1994, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry asked “Is Iraq About to Fall to Iran?” He made this forecast based on Bible prophecy during the years where Saddam Hussein, the leader of Iraq, was the most powerful man in the region. Since that time, Iraq has seen an invasion by almost half a million American troops, the fall of Hussein, the evacuation of the Americans, and the scourge of the Islamic State. And through it all, the Trumpet continued to boldly claim that Iraq would indeed fall to Iran. Now that America has largely left Iraq, and the Islamic State is almost defeated, we are very close to complete fulfillment of that prophecy. How soon will it be before we can write the headline “Iraq Has Fallen to Iran”? ▪