New group claims recent attacks in Iraq

Guardians of the Blood, a purported new militant group claiming to be a part of the so-called Islamic Resistance in Iraq recently published a statement and video claiming responsibility for two Aug. 24 attacks allegedly against a ‘CIA security convoy’ and an ‘American convoy.’

“The heroic mujahideen on the evening of Monday 08/24/2020 unleashed their anger and fire for their revenge on an American military convoy retreating from Camp Taji towards Ain al-Assad base,” Guardians of the Blood said in the statement.

The video, posted on Aug. 30, showed a convoy of large trucks traveling on a busy road. After a few moments, an explosion occurred beside one of the vehicles. The scene then repeated itself before ending.

Additionally, the group said its men were responsible for targeting a “vehicle belonging to American intelligence” between Erbil and Mosul. 

Although the group claimed it targeted an American intelligence convoy, reports from local media stated it was a United Nations World Health Organization vehicle that was targeted, resulting in one injury.

In recent months, Iraqi groups have claimed several attacks against ‘American convoys,’ but some of those claims have not been entirely accurate.

FDD’s Long War Journal spoke with Colonel Myles B. Caggins III, the official military spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve. Colonel Caggins stated the claims of ‘American convoys’ by Iraqi militants groups are in fact “Iraqi contracted logistics convoys driven by Iraqi drivers in Iraqi trucks that haul US/Coalition equipment on flatbed and cargo trucks.”

By claiming an attack against an ‘American convoy’, these groups are attempting to boost their claim of resisting US troops inside Iraq. But in fact, these groups are attacking Iraqi citizens contracted to move American or Coalition equipment throughout the country.

This tactic also allows Iran and its allies the ability to target American or Coalition equipment in a manner that does not elicit any significant responses or counter-attacks from the US military. 

Additionally, when asked if the claim of an attack on an ‘American convoy’ by the group was true, Caggins said: “A few days ago one of these convoys [Iraqi logistics] was attacked causing minor damage. The truck fixed a tire and the convoy continued.”

Despite the appearance of being a new formation, Guardians of the Blood is likely another of the more than half-dozen front groups for other, more established Iranian proxies in Iraq.

Moreover, the group’s logo – of a hand clutching an assault rifle – resembles that of the IRGC and other proxies across the Middle East, which demonstrates its position within Iran’s ‘axis of resistance.’

The IRGC and its network have a long history of utilizing front names to claim more sensitive attacks – especially in Iraq. The recent claims are another instance that fits a long pattern of behavior.

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