This article was written by guest contributor Jason Ditz.
Reports coming out of security sources in Iran say that two battalions of Quds Force troops from the nation’s Revolutionary Guard have deployed into neighboring Iraq to guard Shi’ite holy sites as well as taking the lead in defending the capital city of Baghdad. Some have also reportedly taken part in fighting in Tikrit.
The move comes in response to al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) taking most of the country’s Sunni west, and moving dangerously close to Baghdad on multiple fronts. Iraq’s Shi’ite government is on good terms with Iran.
Earlier today, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his country can’t tolerate the growth of a terrorist group so close to their borders, and promised unspecified aid to the Maliki government.
Iran has already been aiding the Assad government in Syria against AQI’s advances there, albeit without much success. As the problem of this new AQI-run state grows, Iran is likely to try to increase support for its struggling allies, out of whose territory the state is being carved.
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