Hezbollah Brigades official warns Iraqis of working with American troops

Abu Ali al Askari’s statement from earlier today

Abu Ali al Askari, the security official for Iraq’s Hezbollah Brigades (or Kata’ib Hezbollah, KH), put out a statement earlier today via Twitter warning Iraqi contractors of working with American soldiers stationed in the country.

Speaking to the “owners of Iraqi transportation and security companies,” al Askari sends a “final and irreversible warning” to annul their contracts with US forces. The official also extends this warning to those Iraqis with diplomatic and economic ties to the American troops.

The Hezbollah Brigades gives a deadline of March 15 for these annulments to occur; otherwise, al Askari vaguely states that “they will bear the responsibility for their stance of reluctance and stubbornness before God and the people.”

Turning his attention to Iraq’s security forces, specifically those in the Interior Ministry and counter-terrorism units, the KH official says that “in order to preserve your history and your loyalty to the blood of the martyrs, it is imperative to not meet with the leaders of the occupation.”

Lastly, al Askari speaks to Iraqis working within the government to “abstain from meeting with the leaders of the American enemy.” He goes on to state that by doing so they would “join their [America’s] disruptive projects that target Iraq’s people, land, and holy sites.”

Finishing the short statement, al Askari also tells members of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units, ‘national units,’ the media, and other Iranian-backed groups to “support this directive with everything in their ability.”

Today’s statement follows the US designation of Hezbollah Brigades’ new leader, Ahmad al Hamidawi, as a global terrorist. In the same designation, the US State Department also noted KH’s reported role in sniping Iraqi protestors in the streets of Baghdad during protests in October.

Hamidawi replaced longtime Iranian operative Abu Mahdi al Muhandis after his death alongside Iranian Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad last month in a US drone strike.

Al Askari’s statement also comes just days after Akram al Kaabi, the leader of Harakat al Nujaba, another Iranian proxy in Iraq, warned of attacking US troops in the country.

In the wake of the assassinations of Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, al Askari previously warned of utilizing suicide operations against US troops in retaliation.

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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