Hezbollah operates closely in Iraq alongside Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps to prop up and support Shia militias hostile to the U.S. and the West. Muhammad Kawtharani has played a key role in Hezbollah’s operations.
Muqtada al Sadr has reactivated two of his longstanding militia forces in Iraq in response to the U.S. killing Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani.
Following a deadly rocket attack on a U.S. base in Iraq and subsequent U.S. airstrikes in response, the Iranian-backed Hezbollah Brigades threatens to further retaliate by continuing to target U.S. troops.
Both Iranian media and media linked to Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces have reported different narratives surrounding the events of a purported explosion at an Iraqi base last week. However, Iranian media has confirmed at least one Iranian was killed at the base.
While the Treasury designation focuses on the four Iraqis’ links to Hezbollah, which is described as “a terrorist proxy for the Iranian regime that seeks to undermine Iraqi sovereignty and destabilize the Middle East,” it practically ignores the fact that one of them is the Secretary General of the Imam Ali Battalions, or Kata’ib Imam Ali, a key component of the Popular Mobilization Forces, an official military arm of the Iraqi state that reports directly to the prime minister.
Iran has its tentacles all over Iraq, and the United States has no one to blame but itself. It is a bipartisan failure dating back to the March 2003 invasion. The seeds of this failure can be seen in the interrogation transcripts of Qayis Khazali, the leader of the Mahdi Army’s Special Groups and Asaib Ahl al Haq.
The report also notes that the US State Department has pressed the Iraqi government for the return of the tanks, but this has not happened.
The Syrian military has taken full control of Deir Ezzour, while Iraqi troops and Iranian supported militias ejected the Islamic State from Al Qaim.