[Ed. – It’s not the first time we’ve heard this threat, which was also issued some weeks ago in the summer. This is the first time I’ve seen it attributed to Iranian Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani, however. The Hashd al-Shaabi guy wouldn’t use Soleimani’s name in vain; if he invokes it, he has permission to, and may have been told to. That said, the Hashd (PMF) doesn’t really want to get something started with the U.S. It’s all a big toe-kicking line dance right now.]
Iranian-backed forces in Iraq have made major inroads, not just in the country’s divided military, but also in the newly elected government, which contains many officials loyal to Tehran. In the last several weeks, Iranian forces have launched missile strikes in the heart of Iraq near the U.S. consulate and American officials stationed there.
Iranian commanders are now threatening to strike directly at the United States if it moves to attack these fighting forces in Iraq.
“If the U.S. forces target the Hashd al-Shaabi and Iraqi Islamic resistance forces, we will open the gates of hell to them,” a Hashd al-Shaabi militant was quoted as saying, attributing the remarks to top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and its Quds Force, which is known to conduct terror operations outside of Iran’s borders.