Hamdi Malik is an Associate Fellow with the Washington Institute, specializing in Shia militias. Hamdi is the coauthor of the Institute's 2020 study "Honored, Not Contained: The Future of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces."
Alwiyat al-Waed al-Haq is a facade group with unique ties to Kataib Hezbollah, and has been used exclusively to claim or threaten attacks on Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Name: Alwiyat al-Waed al-Haq (AWH), (Brigades of the True Pledge).
Type of Movement: Facade group. Kinetic military operations. Foreign counter-Saudi Arabia and UAE operations.
History and objectives:
By its own statements and images, AWH is focused on anti-Saudi and Emirati propaganda and attacks. It has claimed no attacks on Iraqi soil.
On January 23, 2021 AWH’s (newly created) Telegram account claimed an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle attack on Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In a statement AWH said: "After the exaggeration and insistence of the Gulf Arabs on crimes against the nations of the region and their continued support for the criminal gangs of ISIS and takfiri groups stained with the blood of the innocent, we, the children of the Arabian Peninsula, fulfilled our promise and sent drones of terror to the Kingdom of Al-Saud and targeted their strongholds in Al-Yamama Palace and other targets in Riyadh.”
Speaking to The Associated Press, a militia official claimed three drones were launched from Iraqi-Saudi border areas by a relatively unknown Iran-backed faction in Iraq [AWH] and crashed into the royal complex in Riyadh.
The militia official claimed the drones came “in parts from Iran and were assembled in Iraq, and were launched from Iraq.”
On January 27, 2021, the channel posted an image of a Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle attacking the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE.
Muqawama media channels also referred to AWH as “Alwiyat al-Waed al-Sadiq” which has the same meaning. This may suggest the group was named in a language other than Arabic.
The group stopped posting on January 27, 2021 – it is possible the brand name and associated account existed only for the purpose of claiming the one attack on January 23, and threatening Saudi Arabia.
Chain of Command:
A preponderance of the evidence shows that AWH has unique links to Kataib Hezbollah (based on analysis of media linkages between AWH and KH-run channels).
Direct control by IRGC / IRGC Qods Force is a realistic alternative.
AWH is regularly referenced and praised by KH media, music and images.
AWH has a media channel. It has posted rarely, but when it posts it delivers original content which is then mirrored and disseminated by larger militia media channels.