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Iran May be the Only Winner in Iraq
Intelligence documents reveal how Tehran took advantage of US blundering
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The American invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of that nation’s government in 2003 has rightly been described as the greatest foreign policy disaster in the history of the United States. Eight thousand one hundred and seventy five American soldiers, contractors and civilians have died in Iraq since 2003 as well as an estimated 300,000 Iraqis. By some more expansive estimates the so-called “global war on terror,” of which Iraq was the major component, may have directly killed 801,000, of which at least 335,000 were civilians. Other estimates indicate that the total dead from collateral causes, to include disease and starvation, could exceed 3 million, overwhelmingly Muslims.

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq alone have also cost, according to the same Brown University study, an estimated \$6.4 trillion and still counting as the money to pay for it was borrowed.

The invasion destabilized the entire region and shattered forever the relatively stable status quo whereby minority Sunni dominated Arab Iraq served as a check on Shia dominated Persian Iran’s ambitions. The two countries had in fact gone to war in 1980-1988. The United States provided support to Iraq in that conflict, which killed as many as half a million military and civilians on each side.

After the US invasion, as Shia were a majority in Iraq it was inevitable that the country’s new “democratic” government installed by the victors would eventually find much in common with its eastern neighbor in spite of Washington’s efforts to prevent such a development. The resulting armed conflict that also involved the independence minded Kurdish minority was something like a civil war. It primarily pitted the displaced Sunni against the ascendant Shia militias and was a contributing factor in the subsequent birth and development of the terrorist group Islamic State, also referred to as Daesh.

A remarkable 700 pages of documents relating to Iran’s role in Iraq has surfaced and was printed recently in The Intercept, which received the material, and also in The New York Times, which agreed to help validate and process the information. The Times headlined its piece on the documents with Leaked Iran Cables: Key Findings From Secret Documents: Leaked spy cables reveal how Iran came to dominate the political and military spheres in Iraq. Here’s what the hundreds of documents tell us. For The Intercept, the key insight provided by reviewing the documents was how the “devastation that followed the 2003 US invasion of Iraq gave Iran a golden opportunity to build a political and social order there that was more favorable to their interests.”

The documents consist of copies of original reports and cables written in Farsi that have been sourced to the Iranian external spy service, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). They mostly date from 2013 through 2015. Many of them are field reports that detail the routine of spying – secret meetings, paying bribes, surveillance and countersurveillance. They were sent to The Intercept anonymously by what would appear to be a disgruntled Iraqi official who expressed a desire to “let the world know what Iran has been doing in my country Iraq.” Even though the material is extremely interesting and undeniably genuine, the stories in the Times and Intercept unfortunately only had a short run before disappearing into the mass of impeachment coverage.

As a former intelligence officer, my take on the story was to wonder why anyone should be surprised at what had happened. Iran, operating on internal lines from a position of strength, was working assiduously to infiltrate and place under control a neighboring country that had gone to war with it 30 years before and had killed half a million of its citizens. It was also working to penetrate and manage the new, hostile American presence which was sitting right next door. Spying on one’s friends and enemies alike and co-opting politicians is routine and expected from any competent intelligence service. It is precisely the same formula used by the United States, admittedly more openly, in Afghanistan to this day and also in Iraq after the invasion of 2003.

Just as the United States placed its proxies in Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran has clearly exploited its own relationships with Iraqi Shiites, some of whom actually lived in exile in Iran during the rule of Saddam Hussein. The Iranian intelligence service developed special working relationships with many of those individuals and also sought new recruits within the increasingly Shiite government in Baghdad. Current Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi is known to have a “special relationship” with Tehran through his Iranian official contacts operating in Baghdad.

The documents, in fact, make clear that the Iranian government considers Iraq a client state whose friendly government has to be propped up at all costs. It has indeed penetrated virtually every government ministry at nearly every level. The documents reveal how in 2014 an Iraqi military intelligence officer met with an Iranian spy carrying a message from his boss in Baghdad Lieutenant General Hatem al-Maksusi, commander of military intelligence in the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. His message was “Tell them we are at your service. Whatever you need is at their disposal. We are Shiite and have a common enemy. All of the Iraqi Army’s intelligence — consider it yours.” The Iraqi described secret targeting software provided by Washington and offered to provide it to Iran, saying “If you have a new laptop, give it to me so I can upload the program onto it.”

From the American perspective, the documents reveal that the meetings between senior American diplomats and their Iraqi counterparts in Baghdad and Kurdistan were regularly reported back in considerable detail to Tehran. The Iranians were particularly interested in developing agents who had once worked for the US government and were able to provide information on the CIA and DIA intelligence networks remaining in Iraq after the US military was forced to leave in 2011. The documents reveal, for example, that a CIA asset operating under the pseudonym “Donnie Brasco” offered to sell to Iranian intelligence officers the locations of Agency safe houses, details of training and also the identities of other Iraqis who had worked for the Americans.

The documents indicate that Iranian efforts in Iraq were coordinated by Major General Qassim Suleimani, commander of the elite Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, who worked with the existing Iraqi-Shiite militias that had become increasingly powerful during the fighting with the Sunnis. The papers reveal that though there was some fumbling, the Iranian intelligence officers were generally very professional, objective oriented and effective.

Suleimani sought with considerable success to construct a vast network of informants and co-optees within the Iraqi government, many of whom are named in the reports. Interestingly, the Iranians have experienced some of the same problems in seeking to manage the fragile Iraqi political situation that previously plagued the United States, though they have benefited from the Shiite relationship. Deadly anti-government protests currently taking place in Iraq that have killed more than 300 have focused on the country’s pervasive corruption, but there have also been numerous calls for an end to Iranian influence. The Iranian Consulate in Baghdad has been attacked and burning Iranian flags have been a regular feature in the violence. Iran clearly was more successful than the US in the contest for influence over Baghdad, but the reports suggest that it has failed to fully appreciate the genuine Iraqi desire for independence from both Washington and Tehran.

If there is a lesson to be learned from the documents it is that if you blunder around the world breaking countries that you know little about, you will wind up with up doing more damage to yourself. It should have been obvious even in Washington that Iran, with its Shiite connection and first-rate intelligence service, would be well placed to convert Iraq into a Persian satrapy after the removal of Saddam Hussein, but imperial hubris at the Pentagon and White House did not permit any consideration of “What comes next?”

(Republished from Strategic Culture Foundation by permission of author or representative)
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  1. Lessons to be learned here. Never attack a foreign country unless national security is on the table. Attacking to appease Israel was a very costly lesson. America has not been the same since.

  2. TGD says:

    The American invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of that nation’s government in 2003 has rightly been described as the greatest foreign policy disaster in the history of the United States.

    Has Dr. Giraldi forgotten about Vietnam?

  3. The war of aggression against Iraq had nothing to do with a “war on terror”. That was a silly excuse that relied on Yank ignorance (I don’t find it strange that Yanks, like most people in the world, knew nothing about Iraq). It was always obvious that, with Iraq being 60% Shia Arab, the Shia Iranians would be put in a much stronger position when the dictatorship of the 20% Sunni Arab minority was destroyed. [email protected]

  4. Rich says:

    Prior to the US-Itaq war, there was a hostile regime in power and no US presence in Iraq. By my count there are now 8 active American bases from which intelligence gathering and covert military operations can take place. At least half the government officials are allied to the US which wasn’t the case before the war. Although reasonable to have opposed the war for a variety of reasons it has to be noted that the US is in a much stronger position now than prior to the war I don’t see how this can, in any way, be considered the “greatest foreign policy disaster in the history of the United States ”

    The earth wasn’t salted and the people sold into slavery, but the US clearly won.

    • Replies: @Assad al-islam
  5. anonymous[307] • Disclaimer says:

    [A remarkable 700 pages of documents relating to Iran’s role in Iraq has surfaced and was printed recently in The Intercept, which received the material, and also in The New York Times, which agreed to help validate and process the information. ]

    Fuck both New York Times and Intercept spreading lies and deception is copied by either dummies or USG agents to fool the public. Who can trust a Jewish mafia outlet like NYT?

    Many outlets pose as ‘progressive’, but in fact are USG and zionist baby killers tool of propaganda. There are many examples like or antiwar, or louis proyect and many more.

    Those who are against Evil empire and zionist axis of Evil, must consult other sources and use their own brains. For example the following source:

    It was NOT Iran who INVADED Iraq and killed millions of Iraqis and millions more as refugees. And rob their libraries and Museums, killed over 1200 of their scientists and established an occupying government let by criminal westerns and Dual Citizens like Chalabi. This criminal plan designed and implemented by zionist war criminals and Neconons after staging 9/11 to change the geopolitical region by weakening the regional states and partitioning countries in the region to help the Jewish criminal baby killers and erect Second Israel, ‘kurdistan’, according to Oded Yinon and A clean Break where both criminal Bush regime and terrorist Jewish mafia were on board. They designed and implemented themselves and fools like Colin Power spread their lies where later claimed that he did not know he was spreading LIES, where even 10 year old knew it was a lie. If 10 year old knows that 9/11 was staged by USG/Israel and WMD in Iraq was constructed lies by Jewish mafia and its extension, then who come these dumb people get to positions?

    Iran is a victim of Evil Empire and its extension mainly criminal west including Germany, France, Britain, Japan, South Korea and other zionist colonies like Russia where all supported Saddam to invade Iran and they gave Saddam weapon of destruction and chemical weapons to kill more than 600,000 Iranian people, where more than 50,000 Iranian troop were attacked by CHEMICAL Weapon where still dying and their lives have changed for ever.

    This faith should have been the faith of war criminals who invaded Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and many more countries and raped their citizens, you call ‘soldiers’.

    Western reporting conveniently casts Iran as the dominant foreign player in Iraq today. But Iran has every single right to have influence in Iraq and work with them to protect Iranians from the EVIL EMPIRE and Zionist Mafia where is let by Jewish mafia Trump regime.

    Most of the people ruling Iraq today are still the former exiles that the U.S. flew in with its occupation forces in 2003, “coming to Iraq with empty pockets to fill” as a taxi-driver in Baghdad told a Western reporter at the time. The real causes of Iraq’s unending political and economic crisis are these former exiles’ betrayal of their country, their endemic corruption and the U.S.’s illegitimate role in destroying Iraq’s government, handing it over to them and maintaining them in power for 16 years.

    These protests, in Iraq, Lebanon, Iran, was influenced and directed by Trump mafia, Israel and faggot MBS to break the back of resistance camp.

    The Evil Empire from the beginning planted criminals and DUAL citizens, like chalabi, Ayad Allawi , a CIA agent who even Iraqis know about and cannot gain votes, or Iraqi Defense Minister Najah Al-Shammari, who is Swedish CITIZEN and Sweden PM wants to bring charges of ‘war criminal’ against him, but Sweden allows all the Western and Israeli war criminals go free and sells weapon to Saudi Arabia, a terrorist entity where kills Yemen babies for the Jewish mafia and its stooge TRUMP.

    Look at the following to know that the traitor Kurds have so many positions in the Iraq government, even a traitor Kurd direct the Iraq ECONOMY, but NYT blame Iran and agent of propaganda copy it.

    Adil Abdul-Mahdi – Prime Minister (France). Born in Baghdad in 1942. Father was a government minister under the British-backed monarchy. Lived in France from 1969-2003, earning a Ph.D in politics at Poitiers. In France, he became a follower of Ayatollah Khomeini and a founding member of the Iran-based Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) in 1982. Was SCIRI’s representative in Iraqi Kurdistan for a period in the 1990s. After the invasion, he became Finance Minister in Allawi’s interim government in 2004; Vice President from 2005-11; Oil Minister from 2014-16.

    Barham Salih – President (U.K. & U.S.). Born in Sulaymaniyah in 1960. Ph.D. in Engineering (Liverpool – 1987). Joined Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in 1976. Jailed for 6 weeks in in 1979 and left Iraq for the U.K. PUK representative in London from 1979-91; head of PUK office in Washington from 1991-2001. President of Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) from 2001-4; Deputy PM in interim Iraqi government in 2004; Planning Minister in transitional government in 2005; Deputy PM from 2006-9; Prime Minister of KRG from 2009-12.

    Mohamed Ali Alhakim – Foreign Minister (U.K. & U.S.). Born in Najaf in 1952. M.Sc. (Birmingham), Ph.D. in Telecom Engineering (Southern California), Professor at Northeastern University in Boston 1995-2003. After the invasion, he became Deputy Secretary-General and Planning Coordinator in the Iraqi Governing Council; Communications Minister in interim government in 2004; Planning Director at Foreign Ministry, and Economic Adviser to VP Abdul-Mahdi from 2005-10; and UN Ambassador from 2010-18.

    Fuad Hussein – Finance Minister & Deputy PM (Netherlands & France). Born in Khanaqin (majority Kurdish town in Diyala province) in 1946. Joined Kurdish Student Union and Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) as a student in Baghdad. Lived in Netherlands from 1975-87; incompletePh.D. in International Relations; married to Dutch Christian woman. Appointed deputy head of Kurdish Institute in Paris in 1987. Attended Iraqi exile political conferences in Beirut (1991), New York (1999) & London (2002). After the invasion, he became an adviser at the Education Ministry from 2003-5; and Chief of Staff to Masoud Barzani, President of the KRG, from 2005-17.

    Thamir Ghadhban – Oil Minister & Deputy PM (U.K.). Born in Karbala in 1945. B.Sc. (UCL) & M.Sc. in Petroleum Engineering (Imperial College, London). Joined Basra Petroleum Co. in 1973. Director General of Engineering and then Planning at Iraqi Oil Ministry from 1989-92. Imprisoned for 3 months and demoted in 1992, but did not leave Iraq, and was reappointed Director General of Planning in 2001. After the invasion, he was promoted to CEO of Oil Ministry; Oil Minister in the interim government in 2004; elected to National Assembly in 2005 and served on 3-man committee that drafted the failed oil law; chaired Prime Minister’s Advisors’ Committee from 2006-16.

    Major General (Retd) Najah Al-Shammari – Defense Minister (Sweden). Born in Baghdad in 1967. The only Sunni Arab among senior ministers. Military officer since 1987. Has lived in Sweden and may have been member of Allawi’s INA before 2003. Senior officer in U.S.-backed Iraqi special forces recruited from INC, INA and Kurdish Peshmerga from 2003-7. Deputy commander of “counterterrorism” forces 2007-9. Residency in Sweden 2009-15. Swedish citizen since 2015. Reportedly under investigation for benefits fraud in Sweden, and now for crimes against humanity in killing of over 300 protesters in October-November 2019.

    The fifth column jewish mafia Trump is helping the riot funded by Saudi Arabia to let ISIS free from the al-Hout Prison in al-Nasiriyah in southern Iraq.

    All dual citizens should be kicked out of Iraqi government.

  6. anonymous[307] • Disclaimer says:

    The recent riots in Iraq, Iran and Lebanon had the hands of axis of Evil, US -Israel – Britain to weaken the axis of resistance to benefit the Jewish mafia plan “world government’, where ‘greater Israel’ is embedded in it.

    Trump, a fifth column Mafia, whose daughter has sold her own identity to have a zionist Jewish behind at home, cannot partition Iraq by killing them to help the Jewish baby killers in occupied Palestine.

    According to latest NEWS, Trump is involved in making riot and using their agent to partition Iraq and erect a Sunni mini state in Anbar province where UAE and Saudis are funding this criminal project, after the Jewish mafia project, ‘kurdistan’ was defeated. Trump will take this wish into his grave. He is a traitor and at the service of the zionist criminals. He is surrounded by zionist Jews and zionist bankers who wage war through US treasury Department to kill Iranians and Iraqi children by imposing illegal sanction and the dummies in US are doing nothing but shopping and writing propaganda pieces to fool the public.

    Trump is a Jewish mafia and part of DEEP STATE who is trying hard by lying to keep the FOOLS on board. Only dumb people repeat his lies like ‘US out of Afghanistan’, or “US out of Syria’ or ‘US wants to make a deal with N.Korea’. All these lies are for ‘re selection’ where he takes it to Jewish state, NY.

    He spread the lies like ‘we are making peace with Taliban’ but in fact Trump regime is kicked out by Taliban because Afghani do not accept occupiers like pimps in Germany, South Korea, or France.
    Khalilzad was begging Taliban for an honorary discharge, meaning to leave more than eighth thousand mass murderers and rapiers – you call soldiers- behind where Taliban does not accept.
    US/Israel staged 9/11 and Trump knows it, and now they want to occupy Afghanistan and rob the country and countries surrounded Afghanistan for criminals in their countries.

    Trump is a PATHOLOGICAL liar and should not be trusted for a second. He is corrupt and truly a criminal mafia. Mafia recognizes another mafia when they see one. That’s why Adam Schiff a Jewish mafia (Soros) call Trump a MAFIA, it fits very well. He runs the country like a mafia business and dummies spread the lies that trump wants to bring peace but the Jewish mafia – DEEP STATE-=
    does not allow it. How dumb one can get to repeat such a nonsense? Only fools are blind to Trump mafia crimes against humanity. All these criminals must be arrested and sent to whore house ICC.

  7. anonymous[307] • Disclaimer says:

    [They were sent to The Intercept anonymously by what would appear to be a disgruntled Iraqi official who expressed a desire to “let the world know what Iran has been doing in my country Iraq.”]

    I guess these ‘secret documents’ are like the ‘Laptop’ computer to have the Iran ‘nuclear weapon program’ where the criminals- both Americans and Israelis intelligence services told the world, where IT WAS a LIE, and was constructed by Jewish mafia in Israel and was stolen by the US/Israel terrorist servants, MEK, but in fact was made up by baby killers in Tel Aviv.

    The Jeiwh mafia fifth column, Trump and his extension who are working for a Mafia circle to expand the interest of a foreign country, Israel, at the expense of American’s interests, now fomenting riots in Iraq, Iran and Lebanon to weaken the axis of resistance, to bring more goodies for Jewish mafia who put him in power and protecting him from another branch of Jewish mafia circus Adam Schiff (Soros) who are pushing the criminal plan ‘world government’ or ‘NWO’ where ‘greater Israel’ is embedded in it.

    Do you know that ‘NWO’ and ‘global’ have entered the phony book of ‘anti antisemitism? Nothing has left, except your breathing where soon comes under attack.

    Trump is a pathological liar when he fools people with his lies like ‘US out of Iraq” or “Syria” or Afghanistan. He has NO peace plan for anything, only to suffocate nation after nation for his masters
    the Jewish mafia baby killers. He is one of them and part of the Deep State, where dummies claim is against Mafia trump.

    He is trying to keep 8000 mass murderers, you call troop, in Afghanistan, and he calls it ‘peace plan’. Taliban never accept that. He is trying to suffocate Iranian people, so Iraqis, Lebanese, Syrians, all for the Jewish interests where Trump get its INSTRUCTION.

    Trump who claim I ready for peace, in fact is a warmonger with different style. He has expanded economic wars against Iran, Venezuela, Syria, but NOT Russia. Because Putin like Trump is a zionist stooge where are protecting the interest of Jewish mafia against others since themselves benefit by cooperating with Oded Yinon criminal project.

  8. ‘The American invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of that nation’s government in 2003 has rightly been described as the greatest foreign policy disaster in the history of the United States.’

    I respect Girardi’s opinions, generally, but he is wrong on this. The greatest policy blunder was Wilson’s decision to involve the US in the Great War.

  9. @Rich

    Prior to the US-Itaq war, there was a hostile regime in power and no US presence in Iraq.

    In an another excellent news:

    “United Arab Emirates Diplomat Praises Syria’s Assad for ‘Wise Leadership’”

    A United Arab Emirates diplomat has praised Syrian President Bashar Assad’s “wise leadership,” describing relations between the two Arab countries as “solid and special.”

    The comments by Charge d’affaires Abdul-Hakim Naimi came during a ceremony late on Monday in Damascus to mark UAE’s National Day.

    Naimi said he hopes that “peace, security and stability will prevail Syria under the shadow of the wise leadership” of Assad.

    When it comes to Masjid al-Quds no Muslim will sell out the place where the Prophet (saws) ascended to the heavens. The wise leaders of both Arabs and Iranians are one Ummah and they will never sell out Islam. The Ummah is never been so united and scarified so much!

  10. ‘… It should have been obvious even in Washington that Iran, with its Shiite connection and first-rate intelligence service, would be well placed to convert Iraq into a Persian satrapy after the removal of Saddam Hussein, but imperial hubris at the Pentagon and White House did not permit any consideration of “What comes next?”’

    Wouldn’t ‘obvious in Tel Aviv’ be more to the point?

    Iraq ranks as another stunning Israeli success, following upon the creation of Hamas and Hezbollah, but preceding the clever plot to force Syria into an alliance with Iran.

  11. K14 says:

    “It primarily pitted the displaced Sunni against the ascendant Shia militia and was a contributing factor in the subsequent birth and development of the terrorist group islamic State, also referred to as Daesh.”

    This a preposterous statement!
    So Giraldi wants to tell us that ISIS was not made in Washington & Tel-Aviv by CIA-Mossad & Co but was some natural “development” born out of some social injustice to the sunni minority?!

    With such statement, there is no doubt as to where P. Giraldi’s moral compass points to! He is a disgrace by human moral standards!

    We are supposed to forget that the injured Daesh head-choppers-suicide bombers-rapists were treated in Tel-Aviv and then sent back to Iraq to murder more Shias, everyday blowing themselves up in busy markets and near shrines killing hundreds every day, for several long years and pretend not to know the the games the US played in protecting Daesh, redeploying the agents of evil where needed, supplying them with weapons, intelligence, etc.

    Giraldi also wants us to erase from our memories the Zionist plan of invading several countries including amongst others Iran and Iraq and splitting Iraq in three small satellite states subservient to USI (United States of IsraHell), similar to what the British did in the Persian Gulf with Arab states. We must ignore the evidence that the said plan had been incubated long before the invasion in 2003 was put in action…

    In Giraldi’s books Iran should ignore the Empire’s threats and aggression, accept the country be surrounded by dozens of USI military bases in and leave USI to do its ‘good’ work in Iraq (stealing oil, infiltrating and corrupting politics, building mitary basis, using sectarianism to pit iraqis against each other, etc.).
    In the meantime the presstitute keeps high its zio-litany : “Iran is the axis of Evil” 1(what a flagrant projection!)

    Had it not been for Iran’s help iraqis would still be killed in their hundreds by Daesh.

    Under the spiritual leadership of Ayatollah Sistani, inshaAllah Iraqis will also foil the zionist plot of hijacking the recent demonstrations in the country to lay more snake eggs!

    That for sure will disappoint many snakes!

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