Friday, 13 March 2015

Iran's expanding sphere of influence: Iranian T-72 tanks in Iraq (2)

By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

More photograpic evidence revealing the presence of Iranian tanks in Iraq has emerged. Newly released images show what is believed to be the same T-72S as the one seen near Tikrit, while arriving in the town of Samarra, South of Tikrit. The new images come just a day after the first confirmed sighting of an Iranian T-72S tank in Iraq.

The T-72S is inspected by Qassem al-Araji (standing in the middle), the right hand of Hadi al-Amiri, head of the Badr Organization. When asked about who was to help Iraq in its fight against the Islamic State Qassem al-Araji previously stated ''We Want Help from Iran, Not U.S., in our fight against ISIS'' and that Iran has played "a major role in supporting our military forces,''.

This support now clearly also includes the transfer of Iranian T-72S tanks, at least one of which entered Samarra on an Iraqi Army tank trailer escorted by fighters of the Badr Organization.

But contrary to what was first believed, the tank is operated by the Iraqi Army, not by Kata'ib Hizbullah or the Badr Organization, which are the most influencial of the many Shiite militias currently fighting in Iraq. A source within the Badr Organization close to Qassem al-Araji says that ''Badr doesn't have a mechanized unit. Tanks are operated by Iraqi ISF (Iraqi Security Forces) but operators may be Badr sympathizers.''

As the T-72S is more advanced than the Iraq's older T-72 'Ural' and T-72M1 variants, it seems plausible that Iraqi personnel received training on the T-72S in Iran, once more indicating the strong bond that has come into being between the two nations.

Special thanks to Green lemon.

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Iran's expanding sphere of influence: Iranian T-72 tanks in Iraq (1)


  1. No ERA? Its Grozny, all over again! :P

  2. With the tactics and limited amount of tanks, doubt ERA will play much of a role.

    1. I think it would be pretty useful against many or the rpg types and many recoiless rifle floating around the region

    2. Distant_Thunder16 March 2015 at 18:16

      Most of the RPG rounds used by Daesh are the older PG-7V rounds, which can easily be stopped by the T-72S's armor without ERA. Also, without ERA the differences between the T72M-1 and T-72S are hard to spot for most Western reporters, Add those ERA blocks and even the ignorant can't fail to tell the two models apart.

  3. Rumors were of "company-sized" contingent of Iranian tanks.

    Would be hard to believe that a single example was being paraded at both prongs of the Iran-led coalition efforts currently involving Shia militia forces. That said, however, it would also be somewhat surprising for the Baghdad government to accept such an increase in militia combat power, vis a vis the Iraqi Army..

    Lets see if any more tanks from IRGC-GF stocks turn up on the Iraqi battlefield.