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."
Kataib Hezbollah is the premier fasail (armed group) in Iraq, operating under the direct under-command of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps - Qods Force. It has a wide range of cells undertaking kinetic, media and social operations, some of which are bankrolled by the Iraqi state.
Name: Kataib Hezbollah (KH), (Battalions of the Party of God).
Type of Movement: Fasail (Tier 1). Kinetic military operations (domestic and foreign). Social and political wings. Parent organization. Branch of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps - Qods Force.
History and objectives:
Coalesced from "special groups" operated by IRGC-QF in 2005-2007.
Designated by the U.S. as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in 2009 for attacks on U.S. forces and for destabilizing Iraq.
Strongest individual faction within the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), with control of key departments (chief of staff, security, intelligence, missiles, anti-armor).
Chain of Command:
Iran. Clear and convincing evidence that KH is subordinate to IRGC-QF and partly financed by IRGC-QF. Credible evidence shows KH carries out specific actions under the instructions of, or under the direction or control of the IRGC-QF. The preponderance of evidence shows that Iran provides KH with financial assistance, military assistance, intelligence sharing, selection, support and supervision of its leadership.
Internal Leadership. Nominally governed by a Shura Council of 5-7 members, including an external “overseer” from IRGC-QF or Lebanese Hezbollah. Multiple personal and financial powerbases within KH, aligning partly with different Shura Council members.
Partly financed by the Iraqi state. KH operates the state-funded Brigades 45, 46, and 47. Chain of command nominally runs through the Popular Mobilization Commission of the Prime Minister's Office (KH dominated) and up to the Prime Minister. In practice, KH PMF Brigades frequently disobey the GoI chain of command while remaining legally organs of the Iraqi state.
Rivalry with Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Badr and other resistance factions over profile and recruitment, giving way to coordination when such factions are all threatened.