What is REALLY happening in Iraq

Originally Posted By Rayman1:
Just reading some of the posts on the Zarqawi stuff. I’m currently working in Baghdad doing intel/security work and my daily grind is dealing with these things. Zarqawi is a Sunni from Jordan and his kind are very much the minority here. His group is attributed to several beheadings, execution killings, bombings, etc. but nothing of major note in comparison to what the Shiite-dominated security forces we put in place here are doing to the people and us.

He more than likely got his AKS-74U from his Chechen merc buddies who came here as snipers. And yes, there are a lot of US weapons out here to include M4’s, M16A2’s, SAW’s, and 240B’s. Getting ammo for them is a problem, though. But they pump out videos in the marketplaces showing attacks on convoys, etc. and grabbing up our guys’ guns and equipment. Most of those scenes are 2003-2004 dated. However, they do have a lot of our stuff.

Right now, the Iraqi security forces like the Iraqi Army, Public Order Brigades, SF, Commandos, and Police are almost entirely Shiite which take all their orders from Iran. We are just a nuisance that pops into their compounds to check on them every so often and they are very good about doing the little dog-and-pony show for us to make us go away when we are satisfied. They follow a guy much worse than Zarqawi called Muqtada Al-Sadr. He runs the Jaysh Al-Mahdi or “Mahdi Army” which fought us in 2004 in Najaf until a peace arrangement was brokered with them. And his buddy, a guy named Al-Hakim (who incidently is the Vice Presidnet of Iraq) runs the Bader Corps – Iraqi military dissidents that fled to Iran with their tanks, etc. for 15 years and received training/equipment from Iran. Hakim is not even Iraqi -he’s an Iranian citizen. Bader Corps and the Mahdi Army run all the security forces in Iraq. Iranian intelligence agents make up a part of the Iraqi Ministry of Interior which controls the security forces and it’s controlled by Iran now. The “insurgents” we’ve come to hear about on the news and from the briefings by the military are mostly Sunnis fighting the Iranian-directed Iraqi forces because they are angry that they see us helping them. By day we train those guys and at night they go do the executions and round-ups of the Sunnis throughout Baghdad on unauthorized raids. But when they round up 20 guys without any reason, they simply tell us they are “insurgents” and we buy it. And, of course, they use the mosques or husseiniyahs (Shiite mosques) to plan and coordinate their attacks on the Sunnis as they know we can’t touch them in there. A couple months ago on the news when they talked about the raid that was conducted on the prayer room here, the Shiites called it a mosque and the entire Baghdad City Council broke off all relations with the US military. However, a tortured Sunni man was found and rescued in it, along with tons of weapons and Al-Sadr propaganda. The Ministry of Interior stayed neutral and quiet but was upset. But that is almost all Shiite mosques here.

Zarqawi has directed all Sunnis to fight the Iranian-backed Iraqi government as they are Shiite and hate each other. So, every Muslim merc throughout the area has either come here or is still here fighting us and the Iraqi security forces. And the Iraqi security/military forces put the IED’s out on the street and make us believe they’re put their by something called “insurgents.” We’ve seen the Iraqi Police place them, we’ve seen the Iraqi Police fire at Sunni mosques. Neither side is good but Al-Sadr hates us and needs only to be told by Iran to turn on us overtly. We’ve already had run-ins with the Mahdi Army and Bader Corps agents but were told to let them go as they are with the government. So lots of the people here believe we support the Shiite’s side because we (Us military) roll with them knowing every Shiite mosque is a torture facility and jail for Sunnis that the Iraqi Police use.

Sorry to write so much but just wanted to get guys reading this to understand partly about the civil war that is truly going on here. The Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah from Lebanon send guys here for a 3-month training program. Chechen, Kuwaiti, Jordanian, Syrian, Afghan, and other mercs come here to help both sides. The Iranians send the Bader Corps and Mahdi Army weapons and Iranian advisors which are openly received by Iraqi government representatives to be transported to Baghdad’s Sadr City for distribution to police/military units. All of which we know goes on every day, none of which the US military here will touch because of politics. Frustrating. But off-topic now and my apologies.

A couple people posted that they appreciated his input:

Originally Posted By Rayman1:
Thanks for the kind words on the post – I just didn’t want to turn the original poster’s post into a political session as it started to go a bit off-topic. But if anyone is interested in the real Iraq situation here from someone on the ground, on the street, and dealing with real Iraqis (good and bad), along with the military, I can tell you what I know from my dealings here.

Just give you a quick couple of examples of how not to rely on the news for opinions on Iraq:

A. Reporters posted in Iraq (Baghdad) live in the International Zone (IZ), formerly known as the Green Zone. The IZ is practically another country as it is big and is a completely different world from regular Iraq as it is heavily guarded and protected. It is far removed from the outside. Reporters do not venture out of the IZ or the nearby red zones due to the danger but they do have their local Iraqi interpreters and assistants take a camera/mic out to do interviews, etc. They get footage and bring it back into the IZ where the reporter’s crew does the editing and stuff. What they obtain is largely dependent upon whether their Iraqi assistants choose to give them real info or just what they want to give. NO Iraqi is going to report on the Mahdi Army or Bader Corps unless they want to be shot later. Sunnis won’t do it because they will be killed. Shiites won’t do it because most don’t think there’s anything wrong with those to organizations as they protect Shiites. Take the news with a grain of salt but know there are no reporters out there onthe ground covering anything here. Whenever you see the journalist reproting live from Baghdad on the news, the background behind him is the IZ.

B. Lots of “spinning” info here. The Iraqi Police Commandos which many units are assigned or attached to do things by themselves without authorization. They are visited during the day by us, then we leave before evening. They do they’re bad guy stuff later. Let’s say during the night, they roll-up to a neighborhood and abduct 20 Sunnis, take some jewelry and money, and rough-up some women. From those 20, maybe 10 will be taken with them back to their compound. The other 10 wil be taken to a mosque, tortured, killed, and dumped in the neighborhood. We arrive and find 5 Sunnis in the Commando’s official custody, beaten, of course, and perhaps the other 5 are accidently discovered by us in another building on the compound. An argument begins with the Iraqi commander there about how he’s doing bad stuff and he says they were “insurgents” and not to meddle in their business. As we don’t want to offend, we finally give in but scold him lightly about not doing that again. The US military commander then takes that info, does a report saying the Iraqi Commandos conducted 4 successful raids and apprehended 10 “insurgents.” His higher-ups are happy and the General says the Iraqi security forces are doing great work catching terrorists and start giving them more independence and financial help (morny for new police trucks, equipment, etc.). A Kenmore wash machine could not have spun that better. And sadly, the US military cannot stop what they do here because it is not the mission. The mission is to train and equipment the Iraqi security forces, pretty much all bad guys, so they may take cotrol of the country themselves. Probably Iran’s master plan for years – we always joke how they must laugh every day in Teheran.

Then a few posters asked him to post some more info:

Originally Posted By Rayman1:
Im glad folks enjoyed the posts. I personally don’t care about the politics of the situation, either. But when it’s in your face all day and night, and the politicians (both government and in the military ranks) have your hands tied about really cleaning this place up from the Iranian-backed militias that we’ve allowed to sprout up to control officially control the country, it gets frustrating.

When our forces roll out on patrol and find a possible IED along the roadway between two Iraqi Police or Mahid Army (almost the same thing) checkpoints 500 meters from each checkpoint and the IED is triggered when EOD guys arrive to go over and neutralize it amost killing several troops, then it becomes my problem. Especially when there is not a single Iraqi policeman in the area until it detonates, then they are on the scene in a minute because they knew it was there. Iran had them plant it earlier. And then we roll with them that night to train them on how to do their jobs. To quote one military officer who trains the Iraqi Police Commandos, “We’re just training them to become more efficient killers when they go out with their Iranian advisors when we leave them in the evenings.”

Wish I could tell some other stories that would completely shock you as to the policies and ROE (rules of engagement) that have been set forth by the commanders here. Basically what it boils down to is we are still rolling around here on requirements and mission focus with commanders in the 2004 mindset (the people doing these attacks on us are ex-Baath Party members, Saddam loyalists, and “insurgents”). We really need permission to hit ALL the Shiite mosques or “husseiniyahs,” go into the all-Shiite Iraqi Ministry of Interior (MOI) and get rid of all the Iranian agents, and disarm all the Iraqi security forces to re-build them again the right way – with the same amount of Kurds, Sunnis, Christians, and Shiites. We unfortunately let the government, military, and security forces be created with only Shiites. And since we’re gradually giving them more independence, we can’t cannot tell them what to do anymore. So we must accept the fact the new Iranian-controlled Iraqi government is doing an ethnic cleansing program here and we are indirectly stuck within it.

Posters asked about the politics behind the higher-ups in the military leadership:

Originally Posted By Rayman1:
To answer the question whether or not the higher-ups know what’s going on here is a foggy mess itself. As everyone knows, the higher the rank, the more politics get involved. Probably more than half of the GI’s know what the deal is here and most of the military training/assistance teams know. The supreme higher-ups in the rear know but are reluctant to clog up the system with bad news about the guys they are training. As you know, the focus is to get out of Iraq by training the Iraqis to take over the country themselves. So any info about Iran’s meddling here is just stuff that would keep us from leaving. So, there is a general “Don’t tell me because I don’t want to know about that” mindset. Plus, I’d imagine it’s rather embarrasing at the mid-level (Lieutenant Colonel) to senior-level (General) to say these things to the highers in the States.

Basically, the powers that be are either aware or becoming aware, thanks to some good media reporting that can’t be supressed as easily as within the military/government channels. So it’s out there. It’s also generally known that no one wants to go into Iran to duke it out with them as support back home will be minimal. The real problem is that the intelligence collection system here is absolutely broken. For example: You get detailed info on a building near an Iraqi Police station used as a torture/execution facility by the Iraqi Police and Iranian advisors. You give it to the military unit that is responsible for that AO and visits/jointly works with that Iraqi Police Station daily. The commander of that unit does not want that info as it is not his mission. His mission is only to help the Iraqi Police. And even if he acts on the info, there’s nothing he can do about it if the Iraqi Police say it’s their building under their jurisdiction. Case closed. Remember, we’ve given them more authority and independence because we are not occupiers anymore – we’re advisors and guests. Even Iraanians that have been rolled up are let go once they are brought into Iraqi Police custody. So what’s the point. Another example: You have an Iraqi guy who has established a good relationship with an Iraqi Police Captain at an Iraqi Police Station. And he’s a Shiite. But he’s tired of how the Iranian-backed Bader Corps militia and their Iranian advisors come into the station and task-out his policemen and equipment to do some killings of some Sunnis in the neighborhood, and how they make his police patrols run intereference to ensure no US patrols enter the area while Bader Corps guys do their stuff. So he starts giving info about who the bad guys are, when they come, and what they do, along with other info, too. But the military unit that Iraqi guy works as an interpreter for does not want him talking with the Iraqi Police Captain anymore because intel collection is not what they want him to do. Just translate for the unit about how many patrols the station conducted in the neighborhood. Naturally, all that info stops coming in about the killings that eventually that same military unit will want to know more info on. The Iraqi Poice Captain feels duped and wonders why we permit the militias to do their thing. The military doesn’t know how intel works or how to use it until it’s too late here.

Now you see how the folks in the neighborhoods begin to not trust us and have little faith in us because it looks as though we’re helping the bad guys. Enter the random sniping, IED, or mortar attack. And then the police label them as “insurgents” and we go after them. Totally works in the favor of the bad guys.

I hope that can explain more about why we continue to get attacked here. It’s not some bad-ass, die-hard “insurgents”and ex-Baath Party guys that want Saddam back, it’s relatives of the folks we’re trying to help that are getting angry at us and the Iranian-backed government here. Those relatives might be ex-military or have access to some heavy stuff. The Sunnis here don’t usually attack us because they want us to know it’s the police doing it. But they don’t see us helping them so they attack the police. Then the police say “insurgents” attack them and always try to draw us into the gun battle by not doing anything until we help put down fire for them. And when those guys do finally fire on us, the police do a “See, I told you they’re insurgents – they’re shooting at you, too” thing. Hope that makes sense about why we’re still here.

A few comments from others about what a clusterfuck it is over there and this was posted:

Originally Posted By Rayman1:
It’s certainly a mess now to say the least. You’d be suprised at the number of people that remark about wishing Saddam was back to clean the mess up. They also say it would only take him two weeks to straighten out. But I must admit, he did have some things right. In Al-Amarah along the Iraq-Iran border, Iranians have been pouring in every day unchecked. They use the swamps and rivers in the area to smuggle people and weapons in from Iran. It’s no coincidence that Bader Corps has their headquarters there and routinely meet Iranian agents on the Iraqi side and transport them up to Baghdad using Iraqi Ministry of Interior trucks and government personnel. They are later assigned to Iraqi military/police compounds throughout Baghdad and the rest of the country, and tucked away where we never see them. I’ve even met one on a police commando compound who was ballsy enough to show me his Iranian identification card and passport. He wore the same khaki BDU’s as the rest of the Iraqis. Some of us joked later about how he must be deployed, too. What can you do when they are given Iraqi citizenship and passports by the Iraqi government? Since the government is running itself and we cannot interfere in their affairs, how can you stop that? Saddam had an easy fix for that – he just drained all the swamps and rivers there and shot anyone that tried to come across the border. The smuggling stopped.

The tide of Irainian/Shiite influence has already poured over in a wave and there’s not a whole lot that can be done now. Put simply, they run the country and are doing their ethnic cleansing thing backed by the government.

Zarqawi is a nut bag and he’s also a Sunni from Jordan. All of his al-Qaida boys in Iraq are Sunni and they have the ear of both the Sunnis and the desert people that are in remote places here. So he has the backing of the Mujahadeen guys that are violent, unrelenting fighters. They aren’t interesting in running Iraq but to just get rid of us and the Iranian shiite-backed Iraqi government. He hates the Shiite running Iraqi killing his Sunni brothers as much as he hates us, and they’ve been duking it out in random fights. The al-Qaida guys have the luxury of getting more personnel from all over the place who have some training – Chechniya (enter Zarqawi’s AKS-74U), Syria, Jordan, etc. And they get the more sophisticated weapons that are brought out of those places, in addition to arms from Iraq’s neighbor, Syria. The Iranian-backed Bader Corps and Mahdi Army militias that run Iraq’s government get weapons from Iran and are with the Shiite crowd. Al-Qaidi does the more daring, spectacular attacks and uses suicide bombers to conduct them. Give it time and the two will pound at each other but since we roll on the Iraqi government’s side, we will always be getting involved in this crap as the two sides hammer at each other.

Originally Posted By Rayman1:
This will give you a kind of idea of what it’s like here now – if you look on the news about the British helicopter that went down yesterday in Basra, that incident speaks for itself. Basra, an almost entirely Shiite city, had folks celebrating in the streets and at the wreckage site. The British actually got into some firefights with the Mahdi Army militia that, again, we permit to roll around unchecked. The citizens of Basra shouted praises to Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shiite personality that dominates Iraq right now. He is the leader of the Mahdi Army, among other things, and is routinely visiting Syria, Iran, and Jordan on “diplomatic” trips – and he’s not even a diplomat. Again, we allow this. He has professed to destroying all US forces in Iraq and persuades the Shiites he controls to do this. Again, we do nothing to stop him because we are afraid that by rolling him up, we will set the country into civil war. It already is. The helicopter incident yesterday is one of many incidents that are completely unfathomable that we permit to exist in terms of the allowance of these Iranian-supported militias to not only exist, but to let them do their own patrols in and around ours.

I’m really not familiar with the construction of any large base here but I do know that a LOT of time and money is being dumped here for installations that will be turned over to the Iraqis. One base up north was cleaned-up, fixed-up, and returned to an Iraqi military unit. It was turned into a big event with speeches by the US commander, etc. At the end of that day, it was ransacked. Iraqi military personnel literally went wild taking furniture, equipment, and even floor tiles out of buildings. But that never made any news – too embarrassing, I’m guessing. And we’re currently running very expensive fiber optic cables on many of these FOB’s (Forward Operating Baes) that will ultimately be turned over. LOTS of money dumped over here. But that’s an entirely different subject. This heavy Iranian influence is just becoming obvious and is much deeper than we’d all like to think. In 2-3 years, I’d guess this place will be no different than Teheran. Currently, in Sadr City (all Shiite) next to the Green Zone, if you open a beauty shop, CD/DVD shop with Western movies, or even a bakery (seriously) with a hint of Westernism, or even a faddish/Western haircut, you will be first warned and then later shot and your shop blown-up. Really. We had a deal not long ago where the Mahdi Army militia hanged 6 guys from the streetlights over something as trivial. It’s widely accepted that we do not go in that area because of the “political” quagmire of getting into a shoot-out with the Mahdi Army or Badr Corps. So you can imagine how that kind of rationale the Iranian-supported Iraqi government will spread throughout Baghdad after 2-3 years with the government forces zapping all Sunnis here.

Originally Posted By Rayman1:
Thank you all for the kind words. It’s reached the point where people ought to know the real scoop and not what reporters based solely out of the Green Zone report, and what the military’s PAO (Public Affairs Office) puts out. Just keep in mind – when you hear the words “insurgents,” anti-Iraqi forces,” and “Jihadists,” it’s garbage.

It sucks when you have guys come to you and tell you that his neighbor’s 4 sons where grabbed by the Mahdi Army, put against a wall near a mosque, and shot in front of everyone. Then their bodies burned in the street. And the guy asks what you can do about it. Especially when you know what time those guys meet, where they meet up, and what they do. Their practically untouchable as their is no requirement on dealing with them.

Originally Posted By Rayman1:
My goal was to really try and make honest sense out of the garbage that is spoiuted on the news. The real deal. I wanted to explain why we are still here and why things have gotten 10 times worse instead of better – which never made sense to me in the past as we’ve been here for 3 years. We had this place locked up at the begininng of 2004. Then enter the militias. We fought with Sadr and his boys in Najaf, they brokered a peace deal, and we let them take part in the new security of Iraq. So we can’t do anything about the Mahdi Army. Even though he hates us and has routinely advocated for the killing of every US soldier in Iraq. His Mahdi Army often puts out little DVD’s in the markets showing their exploits at hitting us with IED’s, ambushes, and snipers. But we allow him and his boys to openly run their gun trucks around. The Mahdi Army even has branch offices throughout Baghdad that we don’t even close. They militiamen guard ALL the Shiite mosques in case we decide (never will happen) to roll in and find their weapons, courts, and torture facilities inside.

The one of the most irritating things that bugs me and most of my colleagues here doing what I do is the lack of knowledge for the outside situation by those making the rules here for intel. Sad but true – we go off of intel requirements that were written in 2003-2004 and must report those things that satisify those requirements. If it doesn’t meet those requirements, it can’t get reported because it doesn’t fit the square hole. So valuable, timely intel falls to the wayside because there isn’t a slot for it. Everyday. Really. If it truly is earth-shattering, it can go up by there are specific channels and by the time it reaches those who need it on the ground but living 50 meters from me, they’ve already gone out and it’s too late. As long as Colonels enjoy giving PowerPoint presentations with words like “insurgents,” “anti-Iraqi forces,” and “Jihadists,” poor Joe and along with his commander and his unit, will never know what the real deal is. And they work here and go out with those very same dudes that do those bad things.

Originally Posted By Rayman1:
You’ll get no arguement from me about how Sadr should’ve been offed back in the day, along with Al-Hakim, the leader of the Iranian-backed Badr Coprs and the #2 guy in the Iraqi govenrment AND who is not even Iraqi – he’s Iranian. And, of course, every freaking Iranian national in Baghdad, too. Send their remains back in the wooden weapons crates that carried the weapons they sent over here. Now, the US military won’t go in the same city that Sadr’s in, just to aviod any political problems.

Remember the crap about a month or maybe two ago involving us going in a prayer room and cutting down some bad guys inside. That was just a prayer room that was nothing – but it had a HUGE amount of AK’s RPG’s,RPK’s, etc. and tons of Sadr prpaganda. The Shiites made a big stink about it and the Baghdad Government Council automatically cut-off relations with the US military, the Shiites spun the incident completely out of control (yeah, the guys we’re still over here to protect), and the Iraqi government strategically stayed quiet. An Iraqi dentist that was kidnapped, tortured, and held hostage was in that “prayer room” awaiting his death by the Mahdi Army inside. If that’s the kind of crap that goes on in Shiite “prayer rooms,” imagine what transpires in the confines of a heavily defended Shiite mosque. We know where they are and what they do in them but cannot touch them. Regarding the prayer room story, we later caved in yet again to the Shiites here and held back revealing a lot more that was going on inside that “prayer room” so they wouldn’t get embarrassed and it wouldn’t look as though we were slamming their religion. That’s pretty self-defeating and sad.

But sadder yet is the fact that Sadr’s Mahdi Army is getting stronger (more weapons from Iran), bigger (if you don’t support them, you’re against them), and more openly powerful (they know we can’t touch them and often flaunt that fact in front of us on the streets). But since they are not on the bad guy list AND they seem to abide by the law by often calling themselves a neighborhood watch program when in our presence, they TECHNICALLY haven’t broken any rules. And when these knuckleheads gather up with their trucks and load-up their weapons, we seem to even find a technicality to excuse that conveniently prevening a US commander on the ground from causing a political incident with the Iraqi government, the Mahdi Army, Iran, and the Shiites in general by “accidently” getting in a gun battle with them. Joe’s got a lot to deal with all around him when he goes out over here that he doesn’t know about.”

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