U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is actively pressuring the Iraqi government to stop embracing Baghdad-sanctioned Shiite militia fighters and politicians backed by Iran who are hell-bent on using their unprecedented political to undermine American interests in the region on behalf of Tehran.
Under plans recommended by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and some White House officials, the State Department would designate Iran’s military Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps [IRGC] as a foreign terrorist organization. It would be a first instance of the United States designating a unit of another government’s military as a terrorist group; American officials said it could put United States troops and intelligence officers at risk of similar actions by foreign governments.
The plans also would designate some Iraqi Shiite militias as foreign terrorist organizations. As a result, the Iranian-trained militias — and Iraqi officials who support them — would be subject to new economic sanctions and travel restrictions.
Officials at the Pentagon and the C.I.A. — which Mr. Pompeo ran in the Trump administration’s first year — oppose designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guards or the Iraqi militias as terrorist groups, fearing a backlash that could constrain American troops. Qassim Suleimani, commander of the corps’ elite Quds Force and a regular visitor to Iraq, has already been designated a terrorist by the United States.
About a half-dozen American and Iraqi officials, as well as experts familiar with the proposal, shared details of the plan with NYT on condition of anonymity.
Last year, Baghdad legalized the estimated 150,000 fighters from the umbrella organization of mainly Iran-allied Shiite militias— the Popular Mobilizations Forces/Units (PMF/U) — as a component of the U.S.-trained and assisted Iraqi security forces after the militiamen helped the United States annihilate the Sunni Islamic State’s (ISIS/ISIL) territorial caliphate in Iraq.
Source » Breitbart