Hezbollah Brigades flaunts US equipment in Anbar operation

5

Hezbollah Brigades operating a US-made M113 armored personnel carrier

A video released on a YouTube account linked to the Popular Mobilization Committee or the “People’s Mobilization Units” (PMU), a coalition of largely Shiite militia forces, shows a montage of Hezbollah Brigades footage from its operations in Iraq’s Anbar province. In the video, the US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization is seen operating an array of US military hardware, including M113 armored personnel carriers, HUMVEEs, and artillery.

It is unclear how old some of the footage is, but some of the scenes are taken from more recent official releases from the Shiite militia.

The video, entitled “A song of the free men in the land of Anbar,” shows the Hezbollah Brigades (or Kata’ib Hezbollah, its Arabic name) in operations against the Islamic State. Several scenes show the use of US-made M113 armored personnel carriers, Humvees, and M1 Abrams tanks. However, it is unclear who is operating the Abrams, as the militia operates closely alongside the Iraqi Security Forces. Hezbollah Brigades has shown possession of at least one of the US-supplied main battle tanks in January. One scene, which is from an older video, shows a US MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle being hit with a roadside bomb. It is unclear if the footage is from an attack on an Islamic State-operated MRAP, or if the video is from the US war in Iraq.

Other scenes show the use of rockets, mortars, anti-aircraft guns, technicals, and small arms to combat the Islamic State. Some scenes are from a recent official Hezbollah Brigades release on operations in Anbar. That video, which is more than 10 minutes long, also shows the use of US weaponry. In addition to similar scenes from the montage, the group is shown disabling improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and conducting other ground operations while supported by Iraqi helicopters overhead.

In addition to the videos, Hezbollah Brigades has also issued rewards for anyone who captures non-Iraqi Islamic State fighters. According to the group, Western European or American fighters are worth $12,000. Fighters from the Arabian Peninsula, Lebanon, or Algeria are worth $10,000, while fighters from the Caucasus, Turkey, or those of ethnic Uighur descent (native to the western Chinese province of Xinjiang) are worth $7,000. The group excludes fighters from Syria, Afghanistan, or Pakistan from the rewards.

The Hezbollah Brigades has deployed thousands of fighters to help Iraqi forces combat the Islamic State in Anbar province. In April, the militia announced it was deploying close to the provincial capital of Anbar to help assist against a then-ongoing Islamic State offensive. One video, from April 12, showed Hezbollah Brigade artillery units launching rockets against Islamic State forces in the Sijariyah district in eastern Ramadi. The city fell to the Islamic State on May 17.

Hezbollah Brigades has also been involved in operations near the town of Karmah, just east of Baghdad. As the Islamic State was preparing to take control of the provincial capital of Ramadi, the group also launched a counteroffensive on the town of Karmah and surrounding areas. Fighting is still ongoing in the area, and Anbar Daily claims that the Iraqi forces have made advances in the town in recent days.

Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, a former commander in the Badr Organization who was listed by the US government as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in July 2009, directs the Popular Mobilization Committee. The US government 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 (IRGC).

In addition to directing the Popular Mobilization Committee, Muhandis is also said to direct the operations of Kata’ib Imam Ali (Imam Ali Brigade) as well as command the Hezbollah Brigades. The Iraqi government has largely depended on these Shiite militias in its major offensives, including in Tikrit and Baiji in Salahadin province.

Screenshots from the videos showing Hezbollah Brigades operations in Anbar:

Scenes showing US equipment:

1

2

3

4

15

Scenes showing KH operations:

6

7

8

9

10

Scenes showing KH and the ISF being supported by Iraqi helicopters:

12

11

Scene showing the US MRAP being targeted:

14

Other scenes:

16

13

17

KH fighters capturing an Islamic State fighter or an Islamic State-allied Sunni tribal fighter:

18

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.

12 Comments

  • Jeff Edelman says:

    Barry’s soldiers. Plan is working.
    Why not Iraqi IS soldiers?

  • M3fd2002 says:

    FUBAR

  • irebukeu says:

    Well, when we handed Iraq over to Iran in 2003 didn’t we realize that they would get all the weapons as well? At least the Islamic state doesn’t have these.

    I say sell Iraq all they want. charge 30% upon order and 70% upon delivery. In cash US dollars.
    The real threat to America is our extreme national debt that we are still digging deeper.

    • Jeff Edelman says:

      I think we should ask for gold or oil. Something that has value unlike the U.S. dollar.

  • Oberron says:

    Iraq isn’t even pretending ISF exists anymore. Might as well tell Iran to foot the bill now.

  • Frank Dunn says:

    On June 30th, Obama plans on giving the Iranians a $50 billion signing bonus for a faux nuclear weapons deal that delays Iran’s nuke production by 1 month. Just think of the weapons that Iran will be able to supply to Hezbollah thanks to these unfrozen funds and the ending of the sanctions on Iran’s oil exports. Hezbollah will use these Iranian supplied weapons against Israel and in support of Assad in Syria.

    The $50 billion in frozen funds that Obama will release to Iran will also teach Bibi Netanyahu not to mess with Obama.

  • codejnkie says:

    What we should be doing is putting the Shiite militia on the payroll. give them 2 weeks introduction training for following basic military customs issue them uniforms and fold them into units across Iraq. Relocate 2/3 and reshuffle them. They are clearly being taught how to use U.S. Military hardware. Just issue special new uniforms prevent classified info moving through the ranks and station them. Obviously Iraqi security forces will have better training so put them in command above our Shiite friends. At least they will work for us and we can control their movements. I don’t know when it would be best opportunity to do this, just cross the bridge when we get there. I say give them a choice to join up or stay with the militia. Just my 2 cents.

  • paulo romero says:

    If they are fighting Isis, then let them go ahead and have all the low tech hardware. Let’s face it, after L Paul Bremmer disbanded the real Iraqi Army this was always going to happen. Zarqawi, AQI, Isis , the Shia death squads all bred and fed on the dung pile that was created by that imbecile. Iraqi government forces are exhausted, Western governments won’t commit, Sunni Arab States tacitly support Isis and even AQ groups in Syria and Iraq for their own aims. The biggest threat to the world are Sunni Arab extremist terrorists like Isis and Al Qaeda. Anybody willing to fight them should be supported!

  • mike merlo says:

    as long as the equipment is paid for, preferably cash gold or precious stones, who cares who is using it as long as it isn’t being used to target Americans or their Allies

  • Dan says:

    Since IS and KH have the same (US) equipment now, I wonder if Hitlery has a maintenance program set-up ready to go for when she takes office next year…

  • Dennis says:

    The funniest side is that the American public at large knows so little of this, it harkens back to the late 1930’s when Hitler was times “man of the year” .It is a weak man who urges compromise. So be it with Iran, do we actually believe time will quell the Islamic heart? As our ancestors found out to the dismay of tens of millions dead, we must act even when it is not always in our interest, but in the interest of the future.

Iraq

Islamic state

Syria

Aqap

Al shabaab

Boko Haram

Isis