A photograph of a commander in the Iranian-backed Imam Ali Brigade being honored by representatives of Grand Ayatollah Sistani demonstrates that even the ‘moderate’ segment of Iraq’s political class are supporting Shiite militias that are directed by Qods Force.
Abu Azrael (or Abu Ezra), a commander in the Imam Ali Brigade, was awarded the “Martyrdom Medal of Honour” by representatives of Grand Ayatollah Sistani sometime in May. Shia Jihadica, a Twitter feed that is supportive of the Shiite militias and Iran’s influence in Iraq, published the photograph of Abu Azrael receiving his medal on May 23:
One week later, Abu Azrael was spotted in Baiji next to a Russian-supplied TOS-1A Multiple Rocket Launch System (a number of TOS-1A systems were sent to Iraq beginning in July, according to Jane’s ). Shiite militias, including the Imam Ali Brigade, are leading the fight against the Islamic State outside of Baiji in central Iraq.