An interview with a senior officer of a special unit of Hashd al Shaabi (PMU)
By KAREEM BOTANE
This interview was conducted on January 3 in Baghdad, Iraq in the wake of the US srike that killed Qasim Solaimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
The interview was conducted with thirty year old Abu Iraq al Musawi.
The conflict between US and Iran goes back a long time. Related to this, Iran has carried out many operations against American allies and its interest. The operations such as in Kuwait, Iraq, and many other places, and the US said the last operation was too late and they should have carried out this operation a long while ago.
But, the attack on the US embassy was a good time to respond or an excuse to take revenge on Qasim Solaimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis. The desire for revenge against these two people goes back a long time and doesn't have to do with the US embassy. But, it goes back to all the special Jihadi operations that has been hearing about it and some of it and some we were a part of it when we were very young. There were Jihadi operations even before IS against Diplomatic personnel, US embassy Employees, and in the Gulf area. It's a clear indication that revenge process follow one to another which is very normal. Americans started to be worry about the presence of Abo Mahdi Al-Muhandis., and they started tracking and following him with Qasim Solaimani. The US is scared of religious ideology beliefs, they are also afraid of popular leaders.
Attacking the US embassy was a huge slap in the face of the US and people started to underestimate US abilities and power. The US had to respond very strong, and US said we didn't want to target Abu Mahdi Muhandis rather than Qasim Solaimani. US said we don't have anything Muhandis, he is very famous and he has its own place among people. He is also spiritual father of the PMU. US will continues on its operation, and they will lost their popularity among Iraqi people.
I am sure American citizens are not with what the US leader does against Iraq and Iran. The US should be careful in its action against Iran.’Persians’ don’t have good hearts, Iran is so dirty in its response to US and it will be very painful. We received news that US troops with their family met - and it will the last good bye between them. The threat of Iran is also against US citizens and troops that are outside of the US. It's highly possible that there will be special operatiosn inside of the US very close to governmental sector and personnel. Iran has sleeper cells for special operations inside of the US. There will be suicide operations outside and inside of the US and it’s a certain threat and real. Targeting Hashd Al-shaabi leaders it's for making the Iraqi population lost their trust and make them calm down.
Hashd Al-shaabi , they are talking about revenge and escalation .but It obvious there is psychological and determination break among Hashd alshaabi individuals after Qasim solaimani and Mahdi Al-Muhandis. These two people are the founders of the PMU and they cannot be replaced by another leaders, it will be expected of some new leaders names but it will only be media propaganda nothing else. Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis will not be
compensated for. But it will be only for to make people feel better and they are still out there to take a revenge by promoting when, where, and how. PMU claim that they have advanced weapon but the PMU intelligence was not efficient and not successful in hiding Abu Mahdi Al Muhandis from US.
The US is incredibly powerful. But also Iranian ability cannot be denied after all these years. Very soon there will be a strong response very close to the white house, and it will be a very clear blow to US in side of it and highly possible security guard inside of white house.
We were expecting they will be target very soon, and they also knew they will be targeted soon or later. We are jihadist personnel and especially a leader has a very short life. We know we will die soon.
The Iraqi government tries to swallow the anger of people and PMU after they fail to protect them. Demonstrations are still ongoing inside Tahrir square and they have demands and the government tries to make them calm down. So the Iraqi government just try to make the situation calm among the people. They failed in protecting PUM leaders, and Iraqi government didn't support and help PMU politically and legally to respond to US.
What US did to Iraq is an assault against Iraqis, and the government failed in protecting Iraqi sovereignty. The Iraqi government is weak in responding to such an attack. PMU is trying be united - one body and word. We are expecting sleeper cell intervention or an attack against the US embassy with rockets. Therefore, we are expecting an individual special operation from PMU using Katyusha or another rocket. We will expect the response to be on the US embassy and some other bases inside Iraq. All upcoming special operation will be directly by Iran under their supervision.
AL Sistani emphasized more than one time that both sides should stay away inside of Iraq and they should sort out their issues outside of Iraq. There is no doubt that some of PMU leader will not listen to Sistani and not follow his speech. Sistani speech is only to listen to, not to follow.
All operations are directly guided under the supervision of Iran. Iraqi militia will be doing all operations based on Iran direction and instructions inside Iraq.
Trust was built up between Iranians and Iraqis during the battle against Islamic State. As a result of this operation Iran supervises and the militias follow it. Iraqi government leaders failed in managing issues and war. By contrast, Iranian leaders helped us on the ground. There are many of Iranian leaders still working with PMU elements and they are working for us. Our relationship with Iran is one in which we sacrifice for each other. I am ready to die for Iran and to defend it.
After every death of leaders of PMU there will be small leaders who want to take their place. The death of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis made many leaders claiming they are a suitable person for his position. Now, everyone sees himself as Abu Mahdi Muhandis and want to take his place, it's not something that can be hidden inside of PMU. An example for that, Hadi Al-Amiri was very happy and comfortable with the death of Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, and the same for Falih Fayad. The reason behind of it, the death of Abu Mahdi open more opportunities for them to do more and have more freedom.
Abu Madhi was competing with Falih Al-Fayad and Hadi Ameri for running the PMU. There is calm and repose among some of Hashd Al-Shaabi leaders because of the death of Abu Mahdi and Qasim - especially Fayad and other supporters of them. There are secret meetings and personal interest of PMU. US were a part of this deal with promises of promoting them to higher ranks. We can see close contacts between US and some of PMU leaders to sallow the anger and taking the advantage of the division among PMU leaders.
PMU followers are agitated now, and furious like the rest of the Iraqi people. There is a revolutionary movement and agitated feelings among PMU individuals and supporters. But, it's not good for PMU interest to be break down. We see PMU more agitated. There is an intent of PMU to gather forces close to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and ports. Yet, we don't what is the aim behind of movement. This is to show up that there is still PMU presence here.
Iranian revenge against US is a huge part of PMU responsibilities now. We believe there are Iranian suicide personnel ready and on stand by here in Iraq. They were training and preparing before this event. They are from the Revolutionary Guard - trained and prepared by Qasim Solaimani and for them Qasim Solaimani is a red line. We call them sleeper cells, and the US crossed the red line and they will pay the price for that.
The attack will be done with different tactics. The response should be specific and precise and effective towards American forces.
The response of PMU to its enemies will be on the basis of resistance tactics. US presence in Iraq is not welcomed anymore and there will be a huge propaganda towards that through people and media by our activists.
After the funeral there will be a systematic presence of the PMU among the people and demonstrations to prevent any violation toward the PMU from people and the US. The media will be a part of this movement - because there were many people who celebrated on the assassination of Abu Mahdi and Qasim, and there were sad people on the death of Abu Mahdi and Qasim. Honestly, whomever celebrated on the death Abu Mahdi and Qasim will be followed. I have information, there is a special unit of PMU that follows this case and there will be not a good treatment toward them. There were people who provoked people's feelings by calling or claiming that the PMU is "Iran puppet". Therefore, it's PMU’s right to defend on his self as Iran and Iraq are very close to each other ideologically and faithfully in term of the Jihadi path. Iran’s reference is jihadist and its the common agreed reference with PMU and Iraq. Its internal issues, whoever is not follow Sistani it's not his business to intervene on PMU matters.
Everything has positive and negative side of it, and it’s the right of Iraqi people to protest as Iranian people do. As he has a right to protest against Israel and express their point of view. The same thing for Iraqi people within its different ethnicities - Arab, Kurd, Christian, and Turkman. We accept every different cloth of Iraqi background of Iraqi population. At the same, other side should do the same as we do accepting different point of view on the geopolitics and economy of the country. Even Christians have the right to protest.
There are obstructions of growth of the PMU from many sides, therefore, there will be very extensive media propaganda against this. It will be more media (cold war) rather than physical or clashes on the ground.
The strategy and tactic of war will be different than before after today. The rules and movement of war will be different.
The most benefit people from this conflict will be the politicians they will be taking control of all over country. Also, it will lead the people to stay away from accusing corrupted politicians.
The future of Iraqi government will the same as before. I expect the demonstration will continue and the political situation is very fragile in Iraq. Iraq government is very weak, and I don't know what will be the option on the table for new PM and new government. We still don't know if PMU will intervene on this.
The future of Iraq, we will be going through cold war, we expect the intervention of Russia, Turkey, and Iran to develop and grow their relationship with Iraq politically and economically. Saudi Arabia will stay away little bit from Iraq. Also, Gulf countries will withdraw their interest at Iraqi ports and borders, as result it will not be good for Iraq.
Iraq used to be at war and what is coming is a war. I believe it will remain at war until I die. US will not go out of Iraq like that, it's just political stupidity that claim for taking US out of Iraq.
The response and attack to US will be to diplomatic personnel because most of the time they are alone. PMU tracked and targeted the offices and area that general and diplomatic personal meet. The first target will be on diplomatic personnel and then US embassy employees.
There is a specific description on targets by PMU against US. I wish the world should know that this war is very dirty. Civil war is my biggest