While Iran has reduced its support for terrorists in Iraq, it has not
withdrawn its people from Iraq. U.S. and British troops are still seeking
members of the Iranian Al Quds Force (an intelligence and commando operation
that supports Islamic terrorism overseas) inside Iraq. Quds always attracted
very bright and able people, and the organization was in charge of clandestine
operations in Iraq while Saddam was in power. Many Quds officers actually
warmed to the United States for removing Saddam. Many more Quds operatives were
sent to Iraq in 2003 to see if they could establish another Islamic republic
there. But they quickly found that Iraqi Shias were very divided on that
subject. This got many Quds officers disagreeing with their commanders back
home. The feeling was that the officials back in Iran were living in a dream
world. This was reinforced by the debate over al Qaeda. Even though this Sunni
terrorist organization was violently anti-Shia, and had killed many Shia in
places like Afghanistan and Pakistan, some Quds officials backed supporting al
Qaeda, because of a common enemy, the United States in particular, and the West
in general. The sort of thing can happen because the Iranian leadership is more
a federation than a dictatorship. So Quds can keep being nice to al Qaeda as
long as not too many other Iranian factions get mad at Quds. Currently, Quds
operatives are believed concentrating on supporting radical factions of the
Badr and Sadr organizations, in the hopes of persuading these Shia militiamen to
make more attacks on foreign troops in the future.
hundred or so Quds operators in Iraq are the smallest component of the Iranian
force there. There are thousands of Iranian businessmen in Iraq, in support of
the huge amount of trade that now takes place between the two nations. Some of
these businessmen actually work for Iranian intelligence or secret police
organizations. These operatives have been good at maintaining their cover, but
some have been caught.
difficult to catch are the hundreds of intel and security agents that have
entered as religious students or instructors. Some 2,000 of these Iranians have
moved into religious schools in the south. Most are legit, but many are not.
Taking these guys down is difficult, since they spend some of their time on
religious matters, and live in neighborhoods thick with Shia Islamic
conservatives, many of them armed.