February 15, 2007 — Lugano (apj.us) — We heard the President of the United States use the term “Quds Force” thirteen times during just a few minutes of his first press conference this year.
While Mr. Bush uses the term Quds, the rest of the known world seems to prefer Qods. To be safe I will use Qods.
Thirteen instances is a lot of instances.
Just who are these Qods, and why is their activity so significant?
Qods means "Jerusalem" and the “Qods Force” is the elite division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps of Iran — usually carrying out its function outside Iranian borders. It is analogous in some ways to the United States’s CIA.
Principally, the Qods Force trains Islamic and revolutionary groups in centers in Iran and the Sudan, and also provides money and military support as well as attack strategy and design. This force reports directly to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamen'ei, through its own General.
The current President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is said to be a founder of the Qods Force during the late 1980s.
The Qods Force operates in Western nations (that’s us), Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, North Africa, the Gulf states, and Russia.
Some American experts have claimed that the Qods Forces (Shi'ites, it should be noted) have at least a decade-long relationship with Al Qaeda (Sunnis). However, Iran supported the Afghan Northern alliance against the Taliban after Al Qaeda's surrogates murdered several Iranian officials. The plot thickens.
The Qods Force seems to act as a sort of clearing house, training school, and military think tank for Islamic fundamentalists interested in using force. Some say that Qods provided tens of millions of dollars to Hezbollah for its “Rebuild Lebanon” program after the Israel-Lebanon war in 2006.
Just as the United States built up its intelligence and paramilitary forces in and outside of Iraq prior to our invasion in 2003, so the Qods Force did the same and began, as early as in the summer of 2002, to build pro-Iranian sentiment and later militant groups favoring Iran inside Iraq.
It is most likely, of course, that additional intelligence and paramilitary forces from several nations, including Israel, Pakistan, some member nations of the UAE — most certainly Russia — and perhaps members of the EU also skulked into the region disguised as sand dunes to beef up their own intelligence and influence in Iraq prior to the US invasion.
Iran, and therefore the Qods Forces, support the Shi'ite minority against the Sunni majority in Iraq. They are said to fund Moqtaka al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army with as much as $1 billion annually according to SIMSI, the Italian intelligence service.
Of course, war is business in Iran, and the Qods Forces also smooth the way for weapons delivery from Iranian to Iraqi forces aligned with Shi'ites — in short, the present government of Iraq.
The question becomes whether or not Iran is supporting the very Iraqi Administration that the United States backs — the democratically elected government of Iraq — Shia Iraq.
If this is apodictic, then the incumbent leaders in Iraq are in the enviable position to gain funding and weapons both for their private and public armies. Again, the element of civil war is underscored here: Shia against Sunni.