Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades suspected of kidnapping Turkish workers

One Iraqi soldier was killed today as the military raided a Hezbollah Brigades headquarters while searching for 18 Turkish construction workers who were kidnapped in Baghdad. The raid and its aftermath highlights the increasing influence of the Iranian-backed Shiite militias and the Iraqi government’s collusion and conflict with these dangerous organizations.

A spokesman for the Hashid Shaabi, or Popular Mobilization Committee, confirmed that Hezbollah Brigades, a subordinate militia, confirmed that an Iraqi soldier was killed and two militiamen were wounded during the raid. The Popular Mobilization Committee, the aegis under which the militias operate, which is supported by the Iraqi government and is supposedly under the military’s command, is directed by Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, who is listed by the US government as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. Hezbollah Brigades is a US-listed Foreign Terrorist Organization. Meanwhile, a spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi couldn’t even honestly answer a question if the kidnapperĀ is linked to Hezbollah Brigades. From Reuters:

Saad al-Hadithi, a spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, said security forces had come under fire on Thursday night when they tried to raid a house on Palestine Street in Baghdad’s eastern district of Mohandessen. Intelligence had indicated the presence there of a member of the group involved in the Turks’ abduction, he said.

Hadithi would not confirm or deny that the suspect had been apprehended, and would not comment on his possible affiliation with Kataib or any other group

A spokesman for the Hashid Shaabi, a government body overseeing armed groups fighting Islamic State including Kataib [Kataib Hezbollah, or Hezbollah Brigades], denied the militia had any connection to the missing Turks.

Karim al-Nuri said a “routine search” had escalated into a quarrel that left one soldier dead and two militia members wounded.

“The friction started due to accusations that the Turkish workers were kidnapped by Kataib. Following the security forces’ search, this allegation was proven wrong,” Nuri said.

A security source said the army was searching the headquarters and surrounding buildings in the predominantly Shi’ite neighborhood, but had not yet found any trace of the Turkish hostages.

We continue to be told by the Obama administration’s Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition To Counter ISIL, or the Islamic State, that the Popular Mobilization Committee “should not alarm us” as it has “been subordinated to the Iraqi higher military campaign or command” and isn’t part of the “extremist elements” operating in Iraq. And yet the Popular Mobilization Committee itself is directed by a Specially Designated Global Terrorist who is intimately tied to Iran and its Qods Force, and one of its most powerful elements is a Foreign Terrorist Organization that has killed hundreds of US soldiers and is currently suspected of kidnapping Turkish citizens. Additionally, one of the Popular Mobilization Committee’s most celebrated commanders, Abu Azrael, videotapes himself as he burns an Islamic State fighter alive.

Despite these depredations, the US military continues to support these Shiite militias by providing airstrikes during Iraqi military and militia offensive operations in cities such as Ramadi, Fallujah, and Baiji.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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1 Comment

  • mike merlo says:

    this is another huge lie being foisted upon the general public about these so called ‘home grown’ Popular Mobilization Committee’s being Iraqi. A significant part of the man power for these groups is Iranian. This is especially true of the specialized groups within the group. No matter whether the world chooses to accept it or not the real JV Teams here are the US Administration & the Iranians. The Grand Offensive touted to liberate Mosul has yet to materialize. In fact just the opposite has taken place. The liberation of Tikrit has resulted in a Media Blackout of Tikrit with bits & pieces slipping into the Public Domain periodically trying push the fiction of a Tikrit being reinhabited by its dispossessed but yet for whatever reason that fiction never seems to gain the requisite traction to give the story ‘legs.’ In the mean time ISIS/ISIL, or is it just IS now, launched a Counter Offensive that now has an arc resembling a WWI stalemate stretching North to South, arcing West of Baghdad. The stalemate being principally the result of another much touted Iranian led Offensive that was going to liberate Anbar Province but has done little more than add more dust to an already fetid atmosphere. The Iranian’s easily have a 100,000 plus military personnel committed to the Syrian Iraqi Theater, another number by the way that for mysterious reasons continues to escape reporting, & yet they find themselves methodically losing ground. At least the Fumblelina’s in US Intelligence Community can find solace in the fact that their counterparts in Iran are just as incompetent. Damascus is on the verge of being lost hence this scrambling on the part of Russia to boast of introducing ground forces into Syria & the validating of an earlier commenter. And this little ‘caper’ here in Iraq is the Iranian’s sending veiled message to Turkey. Only a fool would believe that these kidnapped Turks are nothing more than construction workers. ISIS/ISIL/IS continues to have a permanent presence East of Baghdad throughout Diyala Province & South of ‘Kurdistan’ where they continue to harass & disrupt movement of material & man power from Iraq. Interestingly enough this little
    tete-a-tete remains outside the public conversation for pathetically obvious reasons. This such a phony War being waged. The only really serious players are IS, al-Nusra & the Kurds. All the other contestants are just biding their time & ‘playing’ wait it out. What a joke


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