Bahraini militias decry U.S. airstrikes on Hezbollah Brigades

The new logo of Saraya Thair Allah, the youngest pro-Iran militia in Bahrain. The logo is meant to evoke more IRGC branding, much like the logos of Saraya al Ashtar and Saraya al Mokhtar.

Several Iranian-backed Shia militias in Bahrain have joined the public chorus of various groups and political organizations denouncing the recent U.S. airstrikes in Iraq against Kata’ib Hezbollah (or the Hezbollah Brigades, KH).

The Bahraini groups include Saraya al Mokhtar, Saraya al Ashtar, Saraya Waad Allah, and Saraya Thair Allah. All outfits are believed to be supported by Iran in an attempt to foment an insurgency within the island kingdom.

In a short statement, Saraya al Mokhtar, which is heavily tied to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), denounced the strikes before saying that “We ask God that the year 2020 will be the great defeat of America and its rats in the Islamic region as a whole.”

Saraya al Ashtar, Iran’s main proxy in Bahrain and a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, said that “we affirm their [Hezbollah Brigades] authentic right to respond to the American enemy in a way which restrains its ego and crimes in all the fields of jihad inside Iraq and outside of it.”

Meanwhile, Saraya Waad Allah, which is suspected to be a front group for Saraya al Ashtar, stated “We are with Kata’ib Hezbollah and the Hashd Shaabi [Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units] in what they see as appropriate to respond to the American occupiers, in accordance to international norms in the right to respond against the American occupation.”

Saraya Thair Allah, the newest pro-Iran militia in Bahrain, also released a short statement in which said “wherein the destiny is one, the battle is one, we in Saraya Tha’ir Allah affirm we stand with the mujahideen of the sons of Iraq in one trench.”

Much like Saraya al Ashtar, it also gives its support for any further KH attack on U.S. forces in Iraq.

This is not the first time that Bahraini groups have sent condolences to the Hezbollah Brigades. Following U.S. airstrikes on the group in Syria last summer, Saraya al Mokhtar, Waad Allah, and Ashtar all sent their regards to the Iranian proxy.

However, this is not surprising as Bahraini officials have long accused the Hezbollah Brigades of training Bahraini militants. While not explicitly mentioning KH in its designation of the group, the U.S. State Department did confirm that Saraya al Ashtar has received training inside Iraq.

Additionally, the Hezbollah Brigades has a long history of supporting militias in Bahrain publicly. For instance, it recorded at least nine videos between March and April 2011 showing attacks in five of Iraq’s provinces and within Baghdad in the name of Bahrain’s revolution movement.

And following the state execution of two individuals accused of terrorism earlier this year, KH denounced the ruling Al Khalifa family of Bahrain.

Caleb Weiss is an editor of FDD's Long War Journal and a senior analyst at the Bridgeway Foundation, where he focuses on the spread of the Islamic State in Central Africa.

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