Iraqi security sources revealed the details of the visit of a high-ranking Saudi military delegation to the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, last Tuesday.
According to those sources, the presence of Iranian missiles hidden in tunnels on the Iraqi-Saudi border raises the anger of Riyadh, which prompted it to send its chief of staff on an urgent visit to Baghdad.
An urgent military meeting to discuss the story of Iranian missiles
In a visit, the first of its kind, the Saudi Chief of Staff met with the First Lieutenant General, Fayyad bin Hamid Al-Ruwaili. With the Iraqi Minister of Defense, Jumah Anad, in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.
The Saudi official, who was heading a military delegation, met with a number of Iraqi military leaders, and held talks with his Iraqi counterpart, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah.
The two sides described the visit as to discuss many security issues and protect the common borders between the two countries.
But besides the official declared reason, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had strong reasons to send the Chief of Staff to discuss the latest developments regarding its security with Iraq.
According to Iraqi security sources, the main reason for the visit of Lieutenant General Fayyad bin Hamid Al-Ruwaili to Iraq is what is happening in the Anbar desert recently, according to “Arab Post”.
A prominent Shiite politician close to the Iranian-backed armed factions said, “Saudi Arabia is disturbed and concerned about the recent movements of the factions in the Abu Djerba region, near the border with the Kingdom.”
The Abu Jerba area, which the Shiite politician referred to, is located in the Rutba desert, in the Iraqi province of Anbar, about 200 km from the Saudi border.
But what is the secret behind Saudi Arabia’s concern about this particular region?
The question is answered by a high-ranking Iraqi security source, who has strong links to the armed factions loyal to Iran.
He told “Arab Post”: “For about two months, the armed factions have been moving in this area. In cooperation with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a number of Shahab missiles were transported and buried in underground tunnels.
The source explained that those who transport and hide these missiles in that area are members of the al-Nujaba faction and the Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades, both of which are Shiite armed factions strongly supported by Iran.
Target Saudi Arabia
Iraqi security sources close to the armed factions loyal to Iran said that the area is being implemented based on Iranian desire.
An Iraqi security source said: “The elements of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard are the ones who chose this area to transport the Shahab missiles to it. It was specifically the one that assigned the Nujaba and the Brigades, to dig tunnels and transport vehicles with missile launchers.
An Iraqi military commander, familiar with the meeting of the Saudi military delegation with its Iraqi counterpart, said: “Riyadh has certainty that Iraqi lands will be used to target it. This was emphasized by the Saudi Chief of Staff in his conversation with the Iraqi military delegation.
And in September 2019, when the oil infrastructure in Riyadh was targeted, and Aramco facilities were attacked, by drones, of the Houthi group in Yemen. There were several reports that the Houthi planes were launched from Iraqi territory, but the Baghdad government rejected these reports.
At the time, former Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi commented, “Iraq denies what was reported by the media and social media. On the use of its lands to attack Saudi oil installations with drones.
He added, “Iraq also affirms its constitutional obligation to prevent the use of its lands for aggression against its neighborhood and brothers.”
Targeting the Royal Complex in Riyadh
In late January, the Royal Complex in Riyadh, or Al-Yamamah Palace, was targeted by drones.
And American security officials told foreign media that the planes that targeted Al-Yamamah Palace were launched from Iraqi territory.
Commander said in Shiite armed faction Pro-Iranian, commenting on this matter: “I do not deny that the targeting of Al-Yamamah Palace was from the Anbar desert. But the PMF has nothing to do with it. The Awliya Waad al-Haq group claimed responsibility for the targeting.
Guardians of truth
The Awliya al-Haq is a new armed Shiite faction, and does not belong to the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, nor is it known who its leaders are.
However, an Iraqi intelligence source said: “Most of the recent attacks were adopted by new and small factions, but in the end they belong to the large factions, and are supported by Iran. One step does not move except under the guidance of the leaders of the major factions and the elements of the Revolutionary Guard.
Riyadh is angry
A military source familiar with the military meeting said: “Mr. Al-Ruwaili informed the Iraqi leaders of the kingdom’s anger over the use of Iraqi lands to target Saudi Arabia.”
He added, “He also presented a security plan to secure the common borders between the two countries, to prevent a repeat of targeting Riyadh again.”
According to the same source, Mr. Al-Ruwaili stressed the need for the Iraqi side to cooperate with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to stop the recent movements of armed factions loyal to Iran in the Anbar desert. And securing this area in cooperation with the Saudi intelligence and security forces.
The Iraqi military source said, “We understand Riyadh’s anger, and we tried to reassure Mr. Al-Ruwaili and the military delegation, as Saudi-Iraqi security cooperation is an integral part of the political and commercial cooperation between the two countries.”
More recently, and specifically after the January attack on Al-Yamamah Palace, the Iraqi government has sought to deepen relations with Saudi Arabia.
At the end of last February, the Iraqi interior and foreign ministers visited Riyadh for talks with their Saudi counterparts.
Since taking office in May 2020, the Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kazemi, has paid great attention to his country’s cooperation with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to balance Iranian influence in Iraq.
But there are those who reject this rapprochement within the Iraqi political elites, says an Iraqi Shiite politician, and a member of the Dawa Party. Commenting on the recent Iraqi visit to Riyadh: “Al-Kazemi government instead of confronting Saudi interference in Sunni areas in Iraq. It seeks to enable Riyadh to exploit Iraq. Al-Kazemi believes that Saudi Arabia will save it, but in fact nothing of what he wishes will happen.
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