U.S. Designates Asaib Ahl al-Haq as a Foreign Terrorist Organization

Iraqi Shiite Militia Group and Leaders are Violent Proxies of Iran

(New York, N.Y.) – On January 3, the U.S. Department of State announced it would designate Asaib Ahl al-Haq as a foreign terrorist organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act along with two of the Iraqi Shiite militia group’s leaders—Qais al-Khazali and Laith al-Khazali. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the group and its leaders as “violent proxies of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

AAH is an Iranian-backed Shiite militia and political party operating primarily in Iraq, as well as in Syria and Lebanon. The group is implicated in numerous acts of sectarian violence and potential war crimes in Iraq and Syria.

Formed in 2006 by Qais al-Khazali, AAH has between 7,000 and 10,000 members and is one of the most powerful Shiite militias in Iraq. Until the U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq in December 2011, AAH launched more than 6,000 attacks on American and Iraqi forces, including highly sophisticated operations and targeted kidnappings of Westerners. The group seeks to promote Iran’s political and religious influence in Iraq, maintain Shiite control over Iraq, and oust any remaining Western vestiges from the country.

In January 2018, AAH, Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH), and the Badr Organization joined with other Shiite units to form the Fatah Alliance political party ahead of Iraq’s May 2018 elections. The alliance won 47 parliamentary seats in the election, though the parliament soon after called for a manual recount. AAH and KH are the only Iraqi Shiite militia groups to be designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States.

To read the CEP report Qais al-Khazali, please click here.

To read the CEP report Laith al-Khazali, please click here.

To read the CEP report Asaib Ahl al-Haq, please click here.

To read the CEP report Kata’ib Hezbollah, please click here.

To read the CEP report Badr Organization, please click here.

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