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."
Sabereen News is the main media network for all the muqawama (resistance) factions in Iraq, but quietly it keeps a unique connection to Asaib Ahl al-Haq.
Name: Sabereen News
Type of Movement: (Media) facade for Asaib Ahl al-Haq. Non-kinetic / information operations focus. Propaganda social media channel. Non-lethal / non-violent support to kinetic military, kinetic paramilitary, and social operations aimed at weakening domestic and foreign opponents of the muqawama armed groups.
History and objectives:
Sabereen News was created on January 11, 2020 as a small channel on the social media application Telegram. By late 2020 it had become the most influential muqawama social media channel.
Sabereen News objectives include:
Promoting the muqawama cause.
Spreading disinformation for a variety of purposes, including to discredit the Iraqi government.
Incite muqawama supporters and other Iraqis against any party or individuals deemed anti-muqawama. In particular, Sabereen seeks to counter the Iraqi protest movement known as Tishreen movement.
Propagate anti U.S sentiment.
Promote and disseminate real and fake news of the facade groups’ kinetic operations.
Promote muqawama street vigilante groups.
Organize activities related to street vigilante and muqawama groups engaged in cyber activities, such as hacking websites and accounts of muqawama opponents.
Chain of Command:
Preponderance of evidence indicates that Sabereen News is controlled by Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH). This is based on:
Sabereen News’ posts such as “We are AAH” or “Unleash us Qais, we are your soldiers”. Sabereen has not identified this closely with any other fasail (armed group).
Special coverage AAH and its leader Qais al-Khazali receive from Sabereen News, in comparison to the coverage of other muqawama militias.
Limited access to imagery and updates during certain KH linked operations, compared with apparent special access to information regarding AAH linked groups and attacks.
Sabereen aggregates real and fake news from across the muqawama media space, but also publishes statements and information apparently sent from insider sources from various militias and facade groups.