Senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard leader killed at Syrian border

In addition to the Iranian scientist, a senior commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard was killed this weekend in a drone attack
Revolutionary Guard Troops Chant Slogans in a Military Parade Commemorating the 39th Anniversary of the Start of the Iran-Iraq War

PHOTO/Office of the Iranian Presidency via AP  -   Revolutionary Guard Troops Chant Slogans in a Military Parade Commemorating the 39th Anniversary of the Start of the Iran-Iraq War

According to Iraqi security sources and local militia officers, a senior commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard was reportedly killed after an attack with a drone while driving across the Syrian-Iraqi border. The high commander, whose identity has not yet been confirmed, was travelling with three other people carrying weapons and was already on Syrian soil at the time of the attack. The other three occupants were also reportedly killed.

Members of one of the pro-Iranian militias present in Iraq reportedly helped move the bodies, in addition to confirming the attack. These militias, which are trained and supported by Teheran, have been the target of multiple attacks throughout the year. An example of this is not only this attack but also that which took place in January and targeted not only the Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani but also the Iraqi leader of the pro-Iranian militias, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. An attempt is thus being made to decimate the leadership of the militias and the links between them and Teheran.

Vehículos del Ejército iraquí en la entrada de la capital, Bagdad, en el suburbio de Ciudad Sadr, el 21 de mayo de 2020
AFP/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE - Iraqi Army vehicles at the entrance to the capital, Baghdad, in the suburb of Sadr City, on 21 May 2020

Throughout the past week, Israel has been carrying out air strikes against targets and infrastructures linked to Iran. At the beginning of the week, one of these attacks reportedly killed eight fighters from these militias, in addition to an arms depot and a military position belonging to these militias and their ally Hezbollah south of the Syrian capital Damascus. Although this is the attack about which most information has been obtained, Israel is accused of having carried out several more attacks in the east of Syria and in the province of Qumeitra near the Golan Heights. All this would be framed in a shadow war by Israel, which would be approved by the United States.

Both last week's air strikes and the death of the senior commander of the Revolutionary Guard and the scientist in charge of Iran's nuclear programme on Friday coincide in time with the final moments in the White House of Donald Trump, someone who has welcomed this type of surgical attack made possible by drones. There are fears in the region that these attacks will worsen relations with the United States, now that the arrival of Joe Biden, someone who represents a more conciliatory stance, is imminent.

Miembros de la fuerza paramilitar Hashed al-Shaabi (Movilización Popular) participan en un desfile militar en la ciudad iraquí de Basora, en el sur del país, el 14 de junio de 2020
AFP/HUSSEIN FLEH - Members of the paramilitary force Hashed al-Shaabi (People's Mobilisation) take part in a military parade in the southern Iraqi city of Basra on 14 June 2020

The pro-Iranian militias, in addition to the well-known Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestinian territory, have been spreading to countries in conflict such as Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Tehran is thus extending its territorial influence and indirectly combating the leadership of Saudi Arabia and the Sunni branch of Islam. Through them, Iran has also attempted to attack US interests in some of these countries, as has occurred, for example, with the US embassy in Iraq, which has been attacked on several occasions over the past year. In the same way as Iran, the United States and Israel are waging this indirect war in which the main victims are the territories where it is being conducted, with Iraq being the most obvious scenario.