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."
In 2012 JKIH signed a memorandum of agreement with Kashaft al-Imam Mahdi (KIM), a Lebanese youth organization wieldy know to be run by the 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 [the Lebanese] Hezbollah”
The memorandum included training camps run by KIM. These training camps took place in Lebanon in the first three years. On the fourth year in 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, the last one was in February 2020 in Karbala.
JKIH’s activities include:
Providing ideological lessons to indoctrinate its members in political Islam.
Propagating political Islam among the Iraqi youth.
Sports activities for the youth.
Providing aid to the poor.
Social activities, such as cleaning schools, planting trees, etc.
Providing services for Shia pilgrims during pilgrimage seasons.
JKIH was an organization on its own right until November 2020 when it became a suborganization of Tajamo Shabab al-Sharia (TSS, Sharia Youth Gathering). TSS spokesperson refers to JKIH as a TSS department. Also, social media pages run by TSS describe JKIH as a department of TSS.
Chain of Command:
Preponderance of 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, thank KH for holding the conference. Additionally, analysis of numerous videos shows that members of JKIH carry KH flags and banners.
Kashaf al-Imam Mahdi (KIM), the Lebanese Hezbollah youth arm.