Kataib Hezbollah in Iraq vows to force US to leave

Once led by Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who the US viewed as a terrorist for more than a decade, the group is made up of hard core pro-Iranian cadres and has an arsenal of weapons.

Iraqi Shi'ite Muslim men from the Iranian-backed group Kataib Hezbollah wave the party's flags as they walk along a street painted in the colours of the Israeli flag during a parade marking the annual Quds Day, or Jerusalem Day, on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in Baghdad (photo credit: THAIER AL-SUDANI/REUTERS)
Iraqi Shi'ite Muslim men from the Iranian-backed group Kataib Hezbollah wave the party's flags as they walk along a street painted in the colours of the Israeli flag during a parade marking the annual Quds Day, or Jerusalem Day, on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in Baghdad
(photo credit: THAIER AL-SUDANI/REUTERS)
Kataib Hezbollah, an Iranian-allied group, has vowed to force the US to leave Iraq. It is the most recent threatening statement in a year of tensions between pro-Iranian militias in Iraq and US forces, which are in Iraq as part of the anti-ISIS coalition.
Rocket attacks by Kataib Hezbollah have resulted in three rounds of US airstrikes against the militias and its leaders since December 2019.
The Kataib Hezbollah paramilitary group is the tip of the Iranian spear in Iraq. Once led by Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who the US viewed as a terrorist for more than a decade, it is made up of hard-core pro-Iranian cadres and has an arsenal of weapons. It is linked to other Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps elements in the region, is closely allied with Hezbollah in Lebanon and has operated in Syria.
The decision to “remove the Americans” is irreversible, Kataib Hezbollah said Sunday. The US only knows the “language of power,” group member Abu ali al-Askari said, adding that it would face the growing power of groups such as Kataib Hezbollah.
Kataib Hezbollah is part of a wider network called the Popular Mobilization Units, or Hashd al-Shaabi, a collection of Shi’ite militias that emerged in 2014 to fight ISIS but which includes many pro-Iran groups. They are now part of the official paramilitary forces. When Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi tried to crack down on their rogue activities in late June, detaining 14 members of Kataib, the members were released quickly.
Now the group is preparing for a new round of pressure on the US. This comes in the context of the US pressure on Iran. Tehran wants to strike back and uses groups like Kataib Hezbollah to do it.
US forces in Iraq have been consolidating their positions and adding air-defense systems to key facilities in anticipation of threats.


Tags Iraq Military