(New York, NY) – The White House has accused Iranian-backed militias in Iraq of carrying out recent “life-threatening attacks” on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Baghdad and Basra.
Recently declassified reports detail Iran’s role in training and financing Shiite militias that attacked U.S. troops during the Iraq war. Read the Counter Extremism Project’s profiles of the three most powerful militias, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, the Badr Organization, and Kata’ib Hezbollah, part of an Iraqi government approved umbrella group of predominantly Shiite fighters with strong ties to Iran.
Asaib Ahl al-Haq claimed responsibility for more than 6,000 attacks on American and Iraqi forces during the war in Iraq and seeks to establish an Islamist, Shiite-controlled Iraq. The group is openly loyal to Iranian leaders. As an Iraqi political party, it won 15 of Iraq’s 329 seats in parliamentary elections in May. The Trump Administration is debating whether to designate its founder and leader, Qais al-Khazali, and Asaib Ahl al-Haq as terrorist entities.
The Badr Organization is a Shiite political party and paramilitary force that began in 1983 as the military wing of an Iraqi political party that wanted to bring Iran’s Islamic Revolution to Iraq. The group fought with Iran during the Iran-Iraq War. The Badr Organization is run by Hadi al-Amiri, who has a history of instigating sectarian violence in Iraq. He has also been linked to a 1996 attack in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 U.S. Air Force servicemen. Analysts have compared the Badr Organization in Iraq to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Kata’ib Hezbollah is an Iranian-funded, anti-American Shiite militia that earned a reputation for targeting U.S. and coalition forces with roadside bombs and improvised rocket-assisted mortars. Kata'ib Hezbollah has also sent fighters to defend the Assad regime in Syria and is the only Iraqi Shiite militia designated as a terrorist organization by the United States. Documents released in April 2018 revealed that Qatar paid at least $275 million to Kata'ib Hezbollah and other groups, including Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, to win the release of nine members of the Qatari royal family and 16 other Qataris kidnapped during a hunting trip in southern Iraq.