Maintaining his campaign proclaiming Iran’s influence throughout the Middle East, the head of the Revolutionary Guards has hailed victory over the Islamic State in Iraq.
General Mohammad Ali Jafari (pictured) told reporters on Wednesday that the capture of Tikrit, 160 km (100 miles) north of Baghdad, means the jihadists are “gasping for breath and will die soon”.
“Given the strategic position and special importance of Tikrit, its freedom means that the Islamic State can resist no more in any Iraqi city,” Jafari said. “Now that the Islamic State has failed to hold its ground in Tikrit, they will also be forced to run away from the other other cities of Fallujah and Mosul which are under their control now, and the Islamic State will disappear from Iraq.”
A two-week offensive involving up to 30,000 Iraqi troops and Shia militias have advanced on Tikrit and taken almost most of the city, which had been captured in the Islamic State’s lightning offensive through northern and eastern Iraq in June 2014.
Iranian commanders — including the head of the elite Qods Force, General Qassem Soleimani — have been involved in the planning of the campaign.
In an important speech to the Assembly of Experts on Tuesday, Jafari declared that Iran was leading change throughout the Middle East: “Today, not only Palestine and Lebanon but also the people of Iraq and Syria also acknowledge the role of the influence of the Islamic Revolution, and in the context are grateful to the nation of Iran.”
Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani offered support on Wednesday during a trip to Qatar: “If Iran had not helped Iraq, the Islamic State would have invaded countries in the region too”.
By EA WorldView