Iran’s new defence minister may impact Iraqi insurgency    Wed. 24 Aug 2005


Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Aug. 24 – Analysts and defectors from Iran’s booming arms industry believe that the appointment as Defence Minister of an ultra-Islamist regarded as the father of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards’ operations beyond the country’s borders could have a direct impact on the supply of sophisticated weapons and bombs to terrorist groups operating in Iraq.

Brigadier General Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar was all but assured of an easy confirmation vote by
Iran’s Islamist-dominated parliament on Tuesday, when none of the deputies rose to speak against his nomination.

“Mohammad-Najjar was the first commander of the Revolutionary Guards’
Middle East branch and is committed to export of Iran’s Islamic revolution”, said Nasser Akbarian, a former Iranian army officer who now lives in Germany. “As Defence Minister, he will be in a unique position to take care of all the logistical needs of the Qods Force for its operations in Iraq and in other parts of the region”.

The Qods Force is one of the five main branches of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and has the task of conducting operations beyond
Iran’s borders.

Mohammad-Najjar hinted at a role for the Ministry of Defence in the IRGC’s extra-territorial activities in support of
Iran’s proxy groups in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian territories, when he told Majlis deputies on Monday said that he would pay special attention to “the production of equipment related to asymmetric warfare”.

Asymmetric warfare is the term used by the IRGC strategists to describe the role of unconventional methods in their war planning, including the use of suicide operations and weapons of mass destruction.

Iran has already made a deep impact on the military situation in Iraq by giving the terrorists more powerful bombs”, said Simon Bailey of the London-based Gulf Intelligence Monitor. “With his close ties to the Qods Force, the new defence minister could help the force’s Iraqi operations in a significant way”.

Mohammad-Najjar said he also planned to upgrade the country’s weapons systems and missiles after assuming the post of defence minister.

The veteran Revolutionary Guards commander also expressed confidence that under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, himself a former IRGC commander, the military would develop greater ties with the country’s industrial sector.

Mohammad-Najjar, who spent most of his time as commander of IRGC’s
Middle East forces in Lebanon between 1981 and 1985, has been implicated in the suicide bombing of the U.S. Marines compound in Beirut airport in October 1983, which killed 241 Americans.

October 23, 1983, a suicide bomber drove a large water delivery truck to the Beirut International Airport, killing 241 U.S. servicemen as they slept in their temporary barracks.

Mohammad-Najjar expanded the IRGC’s presence and influence in
Lebanon, both directly and through its proxies, and established active ties with radical Palestinian and Arab groups in the region.

Mohammad-Najjar’s forces were also actively expanding their clandestine presence in
Iran’s southern neighbours, including Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Mohammad-Najjar became head of the IRGC’s Military Industries Organisation in 1985. On his watch, the MIO developed a range of weapons that were suited for terrorist operations, including powerful plastic explosives, a man-portable version of mini-Katyusha rockets, and finally the 320-mm “super mortars” that were intended for use by the Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force for terrorist operations in Europe and the Middle East.