Hezbollah Brigades deploys fighters to Ramadi


A Hezbollah Brigades video featuring rocket attacks in eastern Ramadi

Hezbollah Brigades, a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, is deploying forces to the western provincial capital of Ramadi to fight off an Islamic State offensive. The Iranian-backed Shiite militia continues to promote past attacks against US forces on its official website.

Hezbollah Brigades has begun to release videos of its fighters operating in the western city, which has been contested for the past year. The Islamic State stepped up its offensive in Ramadi earlier this week. [See LWJ report, Islamic State launches assault on Ramadi.]

One video, from April 12, shows Hezbollah Brigade artillery units launching rockets against Islamic State forces in the Sijariyah district in eastern Ramadi. The district is considered to be under Islamic State control.

It is unclear how many Hezbollah Brigade fighters have deployed to Ramadi. More than 3,000 Shiite fighters from the so-called Popular Mobilization Committee, or Hashid Shaabi, are being dispatched to the city, according to RFE/RL.

The Popular Mobilization Committee was created by former Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki to combat the Islamic State after the Iraqi military collapsed during the summer of 2014. The militia committee, which includes groups that have attacked US forces in the past, is led by Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. The US government has described Muhandis, whose real name is Jamal Jaafar Mohammed, as “an advisor to Qassem Soleimani,” the commander of the Qods Force, the external operations wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. [See LWJ report, US sanctions Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades and Qods Force adviser.]

Hezbollah Brigades and other Iranian-backed Shiite militias who have attacked US forces in the past have been the beneficiary of US air support during the Iraqi government and militia offensives in Amerli, Jurf al Sakhar, and most recently in Tikrit. These militias committed war crimes in Amerli after ejecting the Islamic State, according to Human Rights Watch, and are accused of doing the same in Tikrit. [See LWJ report, Iranian-backed militias rampaged in central Iraq after freeing town: HRW.]

Despite the US air support, Hezbollah Brigades routinely publicizes its attacks on US forces during the occupation of Iraq from 2006 until the end of 2011.

On the front page of Hezbollah Brigade’s official website, the group promotes a section that publicizes videos of attacks on US forces. One video, from 2007, shows US troops being ambushed in an IED attack in Baghdad. Also, an article on the front page claims that the group captured a Kuwaiti CIA agent who was “spying” on Hezbollah Brigades.

The US military launched airstrikes in Tikrit despite the fact that Hezbollah Brigades and other Iranian-backed groups such as Asaib al Haq led the ground assault.

Hezbollah Brigades was designated by the US State Department as a terrorist organization in July 2009. In that designation, State described the militia as “a radical Shia Islamist group with an anti-Western establishment and jihadist ideology that has conducted attacks against Iraqi, US, and Coalition targets in Iraq.” State also reported that the militia receives funding, training, logistics, guidance, and material support from Qods Force.

Hezbollah Brigades and Asaib al Haq are two of Shiite terrorist groups that the US military used to call the “Special Groups.” These militias are responsible for killing and maiming hundreds of US and Coalition troops up until US forces withdrew from Iraq in December 2011. Hezbollah Brigades deployed the deadly explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, as well as IEDs and improvised rockets against Coalition forces, and also launched ambushes and other attacks.

A screen shot of Hezbollah Brigades’ website. The section featuring attacks on US troops is in the upper left hand part of the page.

Hezbollah-Brigades-Website

A compilation video of Hezbollah Brigade attacks on US forces:

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of The Long War Journal. Caleb Weiss is an intern at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributor to The Long War Journal.

16 Comments

  • Kevin Butler says:

    I guess it’s necessary to sorta “use” Hezbullah, and Iran to some sort of degree to try to accomplish some sot of goal that we have, but no one seems to know what it is. Aside from oil oriented, and under the table of course, but one thing I had to point out is that if there is one thing that those people do not have, it’s most definitely any musical talent-at all! Their “militaty” marching, and attack-type ballads are very poorly written, and without any possibility of making it any better, it’s obvious they stand no chance of victory…..whatever that may be…..

  • mike merlo says:

    Great news. The Shia Militias/Terrorists & their Iranian ‘Einsatzgruppen’ have yet to completely ‘Liberate’ & Pacify Tikrit & areas in its immediate vicinity & now they’re committing manpower & resources to another locale while simultaneously engaged on other ‘Fronts.’ It shouldn’t be long before we ‘these’ Shia stretched beyond ‘capacity/capability.’

    • Rodney DeMott says:

      I believe your assessment of the IS strategy of engagement on multiple and rapidly changing fronts is correct and will prove to be a strong contributor in achieving their overall goal.

  • Timothy J Blair says:

    The US must start re thinking its strategies in Iraq. First, US must choose its allies in the war against IS. The allies must be above all ,trustworthy, fearless and obedient. The shiite militias and communist kurds are not trustworthy, fearless and obedient. Second, this is a religious war. All IS fighters are religious fanatics. Their main purpose is to get killed in the battle or killed their infidel enemies. US cannot allow any atheist, communist, secularists, nationalists to be its proxies in the war against these hardcore, battle hardened Jihadist. The proxies and allies must have religious conviction. So they will have the ultimate purpose to go to war against IS. US must learn a lesson from Assad in Syria. Most their soldiers are dead already. Many fled the battles and their bases leaving behind weapons, equipment and gears behind to be taken by IS. If not because the US coalition involvement in Syria, Damascus would fall ti IS by now.

  • koert says:

    Islam makes a mess where ever it goes.

  • Telh says:

    Confusing mix of Muslim against Muslim, but typical of those whose ‘hand is against every man & every mans hand against him”

  • Daniel Loewe says:

    The Lebanonisation of Iraq. Iran is working its successful and well tested long term subversion in Iraq. Once the Brigades are set up and running Iran will have an all powerful tool to control Iraq even more than it does now. ISIS unwillingly acts as a catalyst for Iran’s imperial actions.
    Saudi will pay all for the Sunnis and we have the same set up we had in Lebanon during the 15 year civil war.

  • rtloder says:

    To me its entirely the wrong strategy, Iraq is unlikely to be occupied by the Iraqi Army, and Amber is a long way from Lebanon, the more support given to the incredibly lethargic Iraqi Shi’ia the less they are willing to sholder their responsibilities.
    About Hezbollah not teaming up with the Awakening prior to 2012, its a likeness to Somalia, US will never come back except in strike aircraft and drones so its totally irrelevant. Turn the page , there is no Ethiopia or Kenya in the ME.

  • Tryta Stopme says:

    I like how most of Hezbollah’s propaganda videos show largely ineffectual rocket attacks being launched. Using WWII Grad style rockets do nothing more than cause large amounts of collateral damage and galvanize the local populace against any cause or ideal you may be promoting or fighting for.

    • Guy says:

      Lol yeah I just made the same comment before I read yours. Grads CAN be effective and terrifying when aimed properly… which none of these were. Did have one come through our temp. sleeping area in ’07 and kill a guy, which was tragic, but overall they almost never worked. IEDs are a lot more potent IMO…

  • James says:

    The way I see it, is this really such a bad thing that these thugs instead of blowing US (or our troops) up have resorted to blowing each other up? I say let them go at it. Let them literally annihilate each other.

    These kind of operations have got to be taxing Iran dearly (in both manpower and economic resources). It’s better that they be blowing each other up, rather than be blowing US (or our troops) up.

    • Alex says:

      It seems like that was the Tikrit strategy; Shi’ite militias go in first and both sides grind it out, then the Iraqi Army regulars/coalition air support follows.

      I’d be curious to the situation in Lebanon now and if the ISIS activity, both in Iraq and Syria, has caused Hezbollah to shift away from its Israeli front.

  • Guy says:

    I like how most of the highlight reel is either Grad attacks or IEDs against Abrams/Bradleys. Yeah Grads are scary as hell but they’re largely ineffective when compared to good IEDs or EFPs. Attacking an Abrams with an IED is almost comical because it will shrug that off and then some. Notice they never showed the endings of those scenes? Probably because they only knocked off the tracks and the Abrams started to return fire…

  • jean says:

    This will destroy the infrastructure of all the urban centers in western Iraq, it will look like Syria or Somalia.

  • JoeO says:

    Let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who. We are here today to witness the union of Iraq & Iran, a marriage that Iran will soon regret. Meanwhile the US has a date with the Kurds….

  • dennis says:

    I too am impressed by the use of indiscriminate rocket fire. Even more impressive, is watching all these militias and islamic extremists using the American weaponry so callously cast aside by an ‘army’ we supposedly trained for years at great expense. Our greatest loss was of those who volunteered.

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