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Some 2,000 Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and Islamic shock troops have entered Iraq and are seeking to control 11 Iraqi cities, according to London’s Arabic newspaper, Al-Sharq al-Awsat.

The newspaper, quoting informed Iranian sources, reported last week that the infiltrators included fighters, clerics and students from the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, or SCIRI, and Al-Da’wah Party. Also sent were several hundred elements from the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Corps. Their members come from families deported from Iraq and speak Arabic with an Iraqi accent.

The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, or IRGC, intelligence service was able to deploy the forces from unguarded areas of the Iran-Iraq border near Al-Kut and Al-Amarah.

The infiltrators were equipped with radios, posters and pamphlets printed in Qom and large sums of money. The cash was intended for weapons for the Badr Corps and Quds Corps fighters from Iraq, especially former Iraqi officers.

The Iranian plan calls for imposing pro-Iranian rulers in 11 cities and town with Shiite majorities. They include Karbala, Najaf, Hillah, Kufah, Diwaniyah, Kut, Nasiriyah and Amarah. The Iranians want to set up revolutionary committees similar to those established after the 1979 revolution in Iran.

A senior Israeli intelligence officer in Israel termed the Iranian involvement in Iraq as “massive.” The officer said the Iranians are attempting to identify mayors and district governors to undermine U.S. efforts to stabilize the country.

The Iranians are attempting to “Vietnamize” the country through the targeting, the official told Israel’s Knesset committee on foreign and defense affairs.

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