An Iraqi security source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards are striving to store weapons in the Iraqi town of Al-Nakhib which is adjacent to the border with Saudi Arabia. The source, who is a colonel in the Iraqi army confirmed that the Revolutionary Guards are training the so-called “Iraqi Hezbollah” in the town of Al-Nakhib and that the Iraqi army cannot enter the area without coordinating with the armed Shiite militias loyal to Tehran.
When asked about how Tehran seized the town of Al-Nakhib, the source said that it did so through the Abbas Brigade and by evicting the town’s original inhabitants. He added that there are currently no inhabitants or Iraqi forces in the town and pointed out that what happened there was effectively ethnic cleansing. He continued by saying that “when armed militias seized control of the town, Sunni and Shiite Arabs were expelled under the pretext that they want to protect Karbala from ISIS fighters”.
The colonel added that “the most important reasons for the Abbas Brigade, which is affiliated to Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi, seizing the town is to create a foothold for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force which is led by Qasem Soleimani near the Saudi Arabian border on the one hand, and to secure a safe land route to transport fighters of the Revolutionary Guards and arm into Syria and Lebanon”.
The source was surprised at the armed militias’ insistence on seizing this town and expelling its residents despite the residents’ lack of conviction with regards to the arguments of the militias loyal to Tehran, especially as the extremist organisation ISIS is nowhere near the town and its surroundings.