Interesting piece from The Cradle. And the claim is completely unsurprising to myself. It was always obvious. One would have been a complete fool to believe the US ever fought ISIS. They armed them. Dropped weapons to them. Etc., But they did not fight them!
Selected excerpts below;
Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian commander of the elite Quds Force in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), played a significant role in launching the Iraqi resistance against the US occupation, and subsequently, against the self-proclaimed caliphate of ISIS.
The story of the military operation that led to ISIS’ defeat began with a meeting between Soleimani and Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut, who decided to summon a group of Hezbollah field officers based in Syria and Lebanon to a meeting in Damascus. There they would gather to determine how they would help the Iraqis defeat ISIS.
The Cradle: Following the expansion of ISIS control, Soleimani began to appear more often in public. In one of his speeches, Nasrallah said that Hezbollah was at the forefront of those who were with him. What was the task assigned to Hezbollah and its field officers by Soleimani, and what were the instructions and objectives provided by Nasrallah?
Sajed: After a meeting between Hajj Qassem and Sayyed Nasrallah, a decision was taken to summon a group of Hezbollah cadres, between 12 and 13 people, to a meeting with Hajj Qassem in Damascus. There he informed them that they would go to Iraq to help our brothers in the Iraqi resistance, by transferring the experiences they gained in resisting the Israeli occupation and in the Syrian war.
They were of various specializations, including operational commanders. Everyone was surprised that the mission had just begun and that they were to travel to Baghdad immediately. Some of them asked for an opportunity to bring their personal belongings or to say goodbye to their families, but Hajj Qassem insisted that some of them would leave with him that same night for Baghdad, while the rest were to meet him there shortly afterwards.
The first batch left with Hajj Qassem on the same flight to Baghdad and spent their first night at the home of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis (the late deputy head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units or PMUs). After that, the rest arrived, and the number reached about 30. Hajj Qassem personally distributed roles and missions, and said:
“All of you participated in major operations against Israel and against the takfiris in Syria. What is required of you is to transfer your experiences to our Iraqi brothers, and to show them the same spirit with which you fought the Israelis and defended the shrine of Sayyida Zainab (the burial place outside Damascus of the Prophet Muhammad’s granddaughter).”
Simply put, that was the mission.
The Cradle: Western and Persian Gulf media promoted the narrative that Soleimani was implementing an Iranian agenda in Iraq. You worked closely with him – is this true, and what was his actual goal in defending Iraq and achieving victory over ISIS and other terrorist organizations?
Sajed: This question should be directed to the Iraqis. I believe that anyone who aims to implement a private agenda will not go so far as to endanger his life. Many times, Hajj Qassem was at the forefront of the attacking groups, and he could have died at any moment.
For example, he was in one of the Hummers that opened the road to Samarra. I do not think that Iran’s agenda in Iraq is based on opening a road to a city, and requires endangering the life of a leader like Hajj Qassem.
His mission was to place all his capabilities and the capabilities of the Islamic Republic in Iran at the service of the Iraqi government. In all his meetings with the Iraqis, he used to tell them:
“The decision is yours. We are only here to help, and anyone who does not comply with your orders can be asked to leave immediately.”
Even on the behavioral level, it was not possible to distinguish between him and any of the other fighters.
The Cradle: There are those who claim that Soleimani fought alongside the US, with the Americans providing air cover while he was on the ground. How true is this assumption?
Sajed: The Americans did not participate in any operation to liberate Iraq from ISIS. In the battle of Tikrit, in March 2015, the PMU finished their preparations to liberate the city, but the Americans intervened with the Iraqi government to prevent the PMU from carrying out the attack.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi decided to assign the anti-terrorism forces and the federal police to carry out the operation, and US planes bombed targets inside the city. When the government forces entered, they were unable to advance much, and it turned out that the American bombing did not cause much damage to ISIS.
As a result, the city was not liberated until after the participation of the PMU in the battle. The US military did not provide air coverage for any of the PMU operations, nor did they participate in any operation to liberate Iraq from ISIS.
The Cradle: After the defeat of ISIS, there was a widespread narrative that attributed the victory to the US-led coalition and tried to present Soleimani as an international terrorist. What is the real story?
Sajed: The coalition forces have not participated in any operations against ISIS. It rejected the request of the government of (former Iraqi Prime Minister) Nuri al-Maliki to intervene against the terrorist organization, and refused to provide the Iraqi army with weapons. The Iraqi army had only four tanks without ammunition, and they were used as binoculars for night vision only.
Covered at my former blog. I remember it so well. Maliki asked and his requests went unfulfilled.
The US actually wanted Maliki ousted from Iraq. They created the conditions for this to occur.
The fall of Mosul began when the PMU cut the road between Mosul and Syria and prevented supplies from reaching the terrorists in the city. Although the Americans contributed to the battle of Mosul, they were responsible for 99 percent of the losses suffered by the resistance forces.
The Cradle: How were the US responsible?
Most of the casualties were caused by suicide bombers. They were driving cars full of explosives, armored and closed on all sides, so that their drivers could not see the road. It was US drones that guide them to the paths that they should take.
The Cradle: Were the PMU limited to Shias only?
Sajed: Of course not. There were and still are Sunnis, Christians, and Yazidis.
Read the entire piece at the opening link to The Cradle