Background on Brig. Gen. Hamid Taqavi,
Qods Force Operations Commander
By OIAC staff, Jan 05, 2015
On Sunday, December 28, 2014, the public relations office of the Iranian regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) released a statement announcing the death of Brigadier General Hamid Taqavi. He was a commander of the Ramadan Garrison during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.
The IRGC statement claimed that he was killed during an “advisory mission” against ISIS in the Iraqi city of Samara. According to the state-affiliated Tasnim news agency, Taqavi was shot and killed by an ISIS sniper while acting as the commander of the Samara front.
Hamid Taqavi was born in the Kut Abdollah district near the oil rich City of Ahvaz in southwest Iran. During the Iran-Iraq war, he was one of the commanders of the Ramadan Garrison. Taqavi (aka “Abu Maryam”) was one of the most senior Qods Force commanders and the commander of the central operations base of the First Ramadan Corps in 2002.
In September 2002, Taqavi and several other IRGC officers were tasked by the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to plan for the infiltration of the Iranian regime forces into Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. In February 2003, the Iranian regime formed a command center called the “Iraq Crisis Center” to organize and plan for the regime’s meddling in post-Saddam Iraq. Taqavi was one of the center’s key and most active members. Working alongside Qods Force Commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Ramadan Garrison Commander Gen. Iraj Masjedi, and the Ahvaz Fajr Ramadan Garrison Commander Obeydavi, Taqavi started working on the execution of the plan starting in February 2003.
On April 9, 2003, at a time when the fate of the former Iraqi government became certain, the IRGC, the Qods Force, and its affiliated bases, sent commanders and forces of the Ninth Badr into Iraq through five fronts that were previously identified. During this period, Taqavi was the Operations Commander of the Ramadan Base and entered Iraq with Abu Mojtaba Sari. Activities related to occupying Iraq’s southern regions were carried out under his supervision at the time.
From April to August 2003, the Qods Force and the Ramadan Garrison moved several large containers holding Iraq’s military, bureaucratic, organizational, party documents and records into Iran through the Dehloran border region. These documents and records had been stolen from state institutions and government buildings by Iraqi groups tied to the Ramadan Garrison, including commanders of the Badr Organization and Iraqi Hezbollah. The records, taken from intelligence and communications centers, were held for several days by Kiani, the IRGC commander of Dehloran (from the Ahvaz Fajr Garrison), before being transferred to Taqavi.
Since 2004, when the Qods Force expanded its organizational reach into Iraq and specified three command axes in the south, center and north of Iraq in order to infiltrate and expand its influence in the country, Taqavi became the commander of the central axis.
The central region’s scope of operation included Al-Amarahh, Kut, and parts of Baghdad. Logistical support bases were in Iran’s Mehran and Dehloran regions. The command center of Zafar Garrison in Kermanshah supported this axis in Iraq.
Taqavi met the then head of Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), Abdol Aziz Hakim, in Baghdad in July 2004. He had picked members of Hakim’s team of body guards primarily from elite Qods Force members.
Following Saddam’s overthrow, Taqavi spent a majority of his time in Iraq. His main responsibility was to organize Shiite groups tied to the Qods Force in their activities against Coalition Forces. During this time, he stayed at safe houses in Al-Amarahh, Najaf, Karbla, Basra, Nasseriya, Kut and Baghdad. He had been instructing and ordering groups like the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, the Badr Organization, Hezbollah and other organizations and parties tied to the Iranian regime in line with Qods Force positions and directives. He had also smuggled in roadside bombs, weapons and equipment for these forces from Iran.
Taqavi supervised all the details of the visits of Hakim and at the time Iraqi President Jalal Talabani to Iran, as well as Hakim’s visits to European counties. Even the composition of Hakim’s delegation to Europe was cleared with Taqavi.
During this period, Taqavi managed the main commanders of the Qods Force terrorist network in Iraq, including Abu Mehdi Mohandes and Abu Mostafa Sheybani.
Terrorist Activities against the MEK in Iraq
Following Saddam’s downfall and the presence of American forces in Iraq, the Qods Force was tasked with orchestrating attacks against the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) in Iraq. This task was previously entrusted to the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). The execution of these plans was the responsibility of a veteran commander of the Ramadan Garrison called Abu Zahra Vaseti (aka Haji Adnan), who reported to Taqavi. In order to carry out terrorist attacks in Iraq, Vaseti was stationed in Iran’s Kermanshah and was responsible for briefing, training, and organizing forces that infiltrate Iraq to conduct attacks against the MEK. Some of these terrorist attacks include the following:
Katyusha missile attack on Camp Ashraf on May 26, 2008 was carried out by a militia controlled by the Qods Force and commanded by an individual named Hossein Ali al-Obeidi. This group was tied to Taqavi through a front organization in Baghdad called the Abrar Organization. A number of other missile attacks against Camp Ashraf were also carried out under the supervision of Taqavi, which include:
- Grad Missile attack against Ashraf on July 4, 2008
- Firing of five Mini-Katyusha missiles on Ashraf on December 25, 2011
- Firing of Mini-Katyusha missiles on Ashraf on December 27, 2011
- Firing of four Nour missiles (more powerful versions of Katyusha missiles) on Ashraf on December 28, 2011
The killing of senior Qods Force commander on the Balad-Samarra front in Iraq indicates that the Qods Force is using all of its senior and key commanders for its operations in order to expand its reach and influence in Iraq. Other news reports have indicated that Brig. Gen. Ahmad Forouzandeh, commander of the southern front as well as the Ahvaz Fajr Garrison, and Brig. Gen. Mojtaba Abtahi and Brig. Gen. Iraj Masjedi have also been primarily stationed in Iraq.