Crispin Smith is an associate at a Washington-based national security law group, focusing on Iraqi security, human rights, and law of armed conflict issues. He is a cofounder of the Militia Spotlight platform.
Michael Knights is the Jill and Jay Bernstein Fellow at The Washington Institute and cofounder of the Militia Spotlight platform, which offers in-depth analysis of developments related to Iran-backed militias.
In 2012, JKIH signed a memorandum of agreement with Kishaf al-Imam Mahdi (KIM), a Lebanese youth organization widely know to be run by Lebanese Hezbollah. Newspaper reports indicate that “young recruits to the Al-Mahdi Scouts are groomed from the ages of four to become supporters and fighters for Hezbollah”
The memorandum included training camps run by KIM. These camps took place in Lebanon in the first three years. For the fourth camp (2015), a group of experienced KIM trainers came to the Iraqi city of Karbala to train 90 JKIH members on leadership skills. The objective of these camps was to “transfer the experience of KIM to the leaders of JKIH,” according to one KIM coach. So far, JKIH has held 14 camps, most recently in Karbala in February 2020.
JKIH’s activities include:
Providing ideological lessons to indoctrinate its members in political Islam.
Propagating political Islam among Iraqi youths.
Sports activities for youths.
Providing aid to the poor.
Social activities, such as cleaning schools, planting trees, etc.
Providing services for Shia pilgrims during pilgrimage seasons.
The preponderance of the evidence indicates that JKIH is controlled by KH. This isbased on the fact that a senior KH leader headed JKIH. Al-Etejah TV, whose website domain was seized by the United States in September 2020 for being “unlawfully utilized by Kataib Hezbollah,” also refers to this scout association as "JKIH of KH." Also, participants of conferences held by JKIH often thank KH for holding the events. Additionally, analysis of numerous videos shows that members of JKIH carry KH flags and banners.
Kishaf al-Imam Mahdi (KIM), the Lebanese Hezbollah youth arm.