Iran orders militias to prepare for proxy wars in Middle East as US warns of imminent attacks

IRAN’S military mastermind has secretly met Iraqi militias in Baghdad and ordered they “prepare for proxy war”, according to reports.

Intelligence sources have reportedly revealed that General Qassem Suleimani summoned militias under Tehran’s influence three weeks ago.

Suleimani, who is dubbed Iran’s “shadow commander” and is leader of Tehran’s powerful Quds force, travelled to neighbouring Iraq several weeks ago where he mobilised regional allies, according to the Guardian.

Leaders of militia groups which come under the umbrella of Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Units (PMUs) attended.

And it is understood this meeting — and Suleimani's comments — triggered fears in Washington that a plot to attack western interests was being hatched. 

A source said even though Suleimani met regularly with various Shia groups over the past five years, this gathering was different.

They said: “It wasn’t quite a call to arms, but it wasn’t far off.”

America has deployed an aircraft carrier, patriot missiles and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf to counter perceived threats.

It wasn’t quite a call to arms, but it wasn’t far off

Adding to this Pentagon is planning to deploy as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East if Iran attacks American forces, a bombshell report claimed this week.

The UK meanwhile raised its threat levels for British troops in Iraq.

US President Donald Trump said last night he hoped the US was not on a path to war with Iran.

This came amid fears that his two most hawkish advisers, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, were gunning for a conflict with the Islamic Republic.

Asked if he wants war, Trump replied "I hope not", this a day after he repeated a desire for dialogue, tweeting, "I'm sure that Iran will want to talk soon".

The tone contrasted with a series of moves by the US and Iran that have sharply escalated tensions in the Middle East in recent days.

This tensions initially started to spiral last year when Trump pulled out of a deal the US and other world powers signed with Iran during the Obama administration.

The deal lifted economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbing of its nuclear program.

Trump agreed with critics of the deal that it didn't address Tehran's work on ballistic missiles or its support of militant groups around the region.

His administration reinstated sanctions that had been lifted under the deal the Europeans and other signatories are still in it and has piled on more.

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