Daily TIP

The Daily TIP: Iran’s Influence in Iraq: Hegemony Through Powerful Militias

Posted by Tip Staff - May 04, 2018

Iran’s Influence in Iraq: Hegemony Through Powerful Militias
TIP Backgrounder: Hamas-led “March of Return” Is Not for Independence, but for End of Israel
Reigning Champ Wins First Stage of Giro D'Italia in Jerusalem; Two Arab Teams Competing
Israel Unveils the Middle East's First Velodrome That Meets Olympic Standards


Iran’s Influence in Iraq: Hegemony Through Powerful Militias

Iran has maintained a significant interest in Iraq for many years, acting as a safe haven for dissidents from Saddam Hussein’s regime and, following the 2003 intervention, taking up a role as both a major political actor and providing support to Shiite militias who targeted coalition forces and the country’s Sunni population.

Iran currently exerts significant political and economic powers in Iraq. Tehran’s influence is being felt at the highest level by regular visits from General Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds Force – a man described as "the single most powerful operative in the Middle East today" and “Iran’s viceroy for Iraq.”

On the ground, Iranian efforts have centered on training and supplying a variety of Shiite militias under the wider umbrella of the “Popular Mobilization Forces” (PMU), a diverse 60,000 to 140,000 strong group formed in 2014 to counter the rise of ISIS and compensate for the repeated failures of the Iraqi Army.

“The United States also has a crucial role to play in countering Iraq’s malign ambitions in Iraq by maintaining a military presence in the country,” Joshua S. Block, President and CEO of The Israel Project, said. 

Block added, “These resources strengthen Iran’s proxies on the battlefield and help them to manipulate Iraq’s political system, social fabric, and ideological nature. With every inch of territory these groups acquire, Tehran’s influence in Iraq becomes stronger.”

To read the complete essay please click here.

TIP Backgrounder: Hamas-led “March of Return” Is Not for Independence, but for End of Israel

Background

Hamas, the Islamist terrorist organization which exercises complete political and military control over the Gaza Strip, on March 30 launched a six week long “March of Return” riot along the Gaza-Israeli border.

In the chaos of events, and in response to blatant violations of Israel’s sovereignty, the Israeli army killed 45 Palestinians, 36 of whom were members of or affiliates of Gaza-based terrorist organizations, including Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades.

Motivation

The total rejection of a Jewish presence in all of Israel

Hamas, the masterminds behind the riots, claim the “March of Return” is a legitimate protest against the decision by the United States to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem on May 14 – a move which enjoys bipartisan political support in Congress.

However, the riots are just a smokescreen for Hamas’s true intention: the total rejection of a Jewish presence in all of Israel. The terror group uses the riots to try to attack and kidnap Israelis. Hamas has developed an extensive tunnel network and has been training naval commandos for such operations. They have been testing Israeli defenses for weeks, including with IEDs along the border, kites carrying burning fuel into Israel, and infiltrations.

• Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, speaking before rioters, warned the world should “wait for our great move when we breach the borders and pray at Al-Aqsa.” He was surrounded by hundreds of supporters who chanted, “We are going to Jerusalem, millions of martyrs.” To read our full analysis please click here.

Reigning Champ Wins First Stage of Giro D'Italia in Jerusalem; Two Arab Teams Competing

Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands, the reigning Giro D'Italia champion, won the first stage of the famed cycling competition in Jerusalem Friday, Agence France-Presse reported. It is the first time that one of cycling's Grand Tour events has taken place outside of Europe.

Teams from Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, neither of which has diplomatic ties with Israel, are competing.

Dumoulin beat Australian Rohan Dennis by just two seconds. Chris Froome, who is seeking to become the first cyclist to win three straight Grand Tour titles, finished well behind, 37 seconds behind Dumoulin. Last year Froome won the other two races in the tour, the Tour de France title in July and the Vuelta a Espana.

Bringing the Giro D'Italia to Israel was the project of Sylvan Adams, a Canadian-born real estate multi-millionaire.

When Adams, who is the Romanian-born son of Holocaust survivors, moved to Israel in 2016, he also brought his interest in cycling with him. Adams took up cycling in his 30s.

In bringing the Giro D'Italia to Israel, he hopes to spark interest in cycling in Israel, as well as to showcase the country to the world.

"As many as a billion viewers will see the country on display, the full country," Adams told CNN. "Cycling takes place outdoors, and for three days, the cameras will be on us for 16 hours showing the country from north to south."

Israel Unveils the Middle East's First Velodrome That Meets Olympic Standards

The Sylvan Adams Velodrome in Tel Aviv, touted as the most advanced indoor cycling arena in the Middle East, was unveiled a few days before the Big Start of the Giro d’Italia road-biking race in Israel, scheduled to begin in Jerusalem on May 4 and reach Tel Aviv on May 5.

The arena, still under construction, will meet the Olympic standards of 250 meters in circumference and aims to develop and promote competitive and recreational cycling in Israel.

Professional cyclists from the Israel Cycling Academy did the first test run of the tracks as Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai watched along with Yoni Yarom, chairman of the Israel Cycling Federation, and Sylvan Adams, co-owner of the Israel Cycling Academy and honorary president of Giro’s Big Start in Israel.

The Velodrome, named in tribute to Adams’ efforts to advance cycling in Israel, is located near the National Sport Center, a compound of stadiums, sports facilities and the Olympic Committee of Israel headquarters. The arena cost about $19 million to build and was designed by Mazor-First Architects to seat 620 people.

Adams said he hopes the Velodrome will host the 2021 World Junior Championships for track cycling.

(via Israel21c)


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