In an online conference, on Monday, a former senior US military commander in Iraq said Shiite militias in Iraq are getting their directions from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force.
Colonel Wesley Martin said that for the situation to improve in Iraq, the IRGC and its commander Qassem Soleimani should be evicted from the country.
“Soleimani is a commander of the state- sponsored terrorist operation and people in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen are paying for the consequences,” he said.
Martin, who served several tours of duty in Iraq as the senior antiterrorism and force-protection officer for coalition forces, said Shiite militias who “get directions from Quds Force and the Badr Corps… have turned the situation into a civil war and the Sunnis have to fight for their survival.”
He lambasted the Iranian regime’s belligerence in the region and said it has to be checked. He added operation “Decisive Storm” by a coalition of Arab countries is trying to do that but that its success is not guaranteed yet. He said the operation “caught Tehran by surprise,” adding, “The mullahs thought they would have an easy walk in Yemen.”
During the conference, which lasted more than an hour, Col. Martin strongly criticized the Obama administration’s lack of action in the Middle East and said the US does not have a policy there, allowing the Iranian regime to fill the void. He compared Obama’s approach to Iran with Neville Chamberlain’s “peace in our time,” speech following Hitler’s invasion of Czechoslovakia. Regarding Iraq, Martin said that, worse than simply turning a blind eye to the situation, “the US in practice has been flying bomber missions in support of the Quds Force in Iraq.”
He stressed that the Iranian regime is the number one exporter of terror in the world and that it can never be trusted. He elaborated by saying that there is zero chance of Iran upholding its nuclear agreement with the world. “As this regime continues its nuke capability in hidden facilities, it has Western powers tied down to the negotiating table,” Martin added.
Col. Martin was also in charge of protection of Iranian dissidents while they were residing at Camp Ashraf. He said the rights of the dissidents, members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) who are now residing in Camp Liberty near Baghdad airport should be observed. He said demands have to be made to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for the release of Safar Zakery, a camp Liberty resident who has been kept in illegal custody for about a month.
Martin said the US has reneged on its commitments to the residents and that the State Department even tried to cover up crimes and murders perpetrated by against Iranian dissidents by the forces of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. He went on to add: “The US will do nothing to upset the Iranian regime. That’s why the US closes its eyes on the Camp Liberty situation.”
Col. Martin was a signatory of a letter sent to Abadi by 34 former US government officials and military leaders, urging him to end restrictions on the residents of Camp Liberty and to provide protection for them.
The online conference took place on the eve of the meeting between Abadi and Obama at the White House on Tuesday.
Drawing on his intimate knowledge of the situation in Iraq and various groups and tendencies in that country, Col. Martin said Nouri-al Maliki’s sectarian policies contributed to the growth of ISIS. He said if Prime Minister Abadi wants to be successful he has to unite Shiites and Sunnis to keep the country together and should keep the Iranian regime at a distance.
Martin agrees with the assessment of General David Petraeus that in the long run Iran is a bigger danger to Iraq than ISIS. He said, “Gen Petraeus won the war in Iraq. Obama lost the peace.”
He said the large meeting of Iranian opponents and their international supporters in Paris on June 13 is important because it will highlight Tehran as the epicenter of Islamic fundamentalism, will show to the world that the Iranian regime does not represent Iranian people, and will demonstrate that there is hope for change in Iran.
Martin concluded by saying: “We can’t be idle while evil powers, specifically ISIS and the Iranian government, destroy Middle East.”