It’s been a bad few months for the IRGC

The death of IRGC commander Major General Qassem Soleimani was the culmination of years of provocative attacks on United States and allies within the middle east. It’s no secret that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and “Qods Force” have been actively helping the Assad regime against ISIS/Daesch, and actively provoking Iraqi Shia Militia Groups to attack coalition bases (the Government of Iraq requested assistance from the international community in 2014 to fight Daesch, and the terms of that assistance is that when they ask the international community to leave there is a year to complete the exit). So far the Government of Iraq has not officially asked the coalition to leave, so rocket, mortar and small arms attacks on coalition bases are simply proof that the Government of Iraq cannot control the Shia Militia Groups aligned with Iran.

I won’t go into events prior to January 3rd, 2020, suffice to say that there is a lot of history and backstory.

3 Jan 2020: Qassem Soleimani https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/qassem-soleimani-iran-elite-quds-force-leader-200103033905377.html

22 Jan 2020: Abdolhossein Mojaddami https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/masked-gunmen-kill-local-commander-iran-security-forces-200122142349845.html

4 Feb 2020: Asghar Bashpour https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200204-soleimani-aide-killed-in-syria/

18 Feb 2020: Hamidreza Babelkhani aka Haj Ebrahim  https://thedefensepost.com/2020/02/18/syria-iran-irgc-hamidreza-babelkhani-killed-in-aleppo/

7 March 2020: Farhad Dabirian https://en.radiofarda.com/a/iran-guard-s-commander-dies-in-syria-in-possible-assassination-/30474950.html

13 March 2020: Siamand Mashhadani https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Was-Iranian-IRGC-General-Siamand-Mashhadani-killed-in-US-airstrikes-620862

So six, give or take, IRGC members have perished from bombs or bullets in the past three months. The only acknowledged “targeted killing” was the 3 January 2020 strike on Qassem Soleimani, the other five were “meh, too bad he happened to be at the location of a known terrorist location” or “hell, stuff just happens in war” or in the case of Mojaddami “two guys on a motorcycle sure sounds like an internal security problem.”

What is pretty evident to me (but still pure speculation on my part) is that at least one government, probably many more, are tired of Iranian Qods Force leadership complicating the political situation in the Middle East and trying to cut back their influence in the Levant. With Iranian influence minimized it isn’t too far of a stretch to see the US, Russia, Turkey, and Iraq coming to a ceasefire agreement with Syria. The Syrian Democratic Forces would get slaughtered by Syria and Russia should the coalition pull out rapidly (not really my problem, but it wouldn’t be a politically acceptable move), which would likely set up conditions for yet another transnational terror group to rise up. My guess is that we’ll see one or two IRGC leaders taken out per month for the foreseeable future.

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2 Responses to It’s been a bad few months for the IRGC

  1. DW says:

    Those are pretty interesting HVT targeting stats over the past 3 months.

    The question is, if we have this much good information on these HVT’s why have we waited and why are we not just taking them all out? It seems like a much more effective strategy compared to the last 18 years of counterinsurgency failures. Plus it’s probably cheaper ( in the long run ) and has the upside of possibly making these chuckleheads consider a different line of work?

    Like

    • rthtgnbs says:

      Honestly, no clue if these are “good intel strikes” or “damn, guess who popped up? do we have anything flying?” type situations, and honestly no clue if this is a deliberate series of strikes except for the QS strike at the very beginning of January where the US took immediate credit. No clue if it’s back channel intelligence passing between players who don’t normally play well together (think bear and eagle) to deal with a common problem preventing resolution in Syria.

      Your guess is as good as mine here, all I did was notice a trend in open source reporting.

      Like

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