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."
The Sharia Youth Gathering is an umbrella movement of social service, cultural, sports, and scouting organizations that is effectively controlled by Kataib Hezbollah (KH) through a cadre of KH-linked commanders.
TSS is rapidly expanding its presence in southern Shia populated provinces, probably to recruit as many Shia youth as possible.
Chain of Command:
TSS claims to be an independent NGO, but the preponderance of evidence shows it is a KH organization, or at least has close ties with KH and its membership. The majority of known TSS leaders have direct links to KH through their prior membership of JKIH.
TSS’s known senior executive leadership all held senior executive appointments in JKIH and hold similar executive level appointments in TSS. It is probable that TSS’s leadership have direct links to KH through their tenure at JKIH, and in their similar executive roles at TSS. TSS senior leaders include:
Also, TSS mokibs (Shia service tents set up during pilgrimage seasons to provide services for the pilgrims)clearly fly KH flags and their videos are posted by TSS’s social media accounts.
TSS is an open cultural and societal movement, and it is probable that not all members of TSS are affiliated with KH. TSS is, however, led and organized by individuals with deep ties to KH. Through its KH affiliated leaders and members, TSS carries out the policy objectives of KH, and is effectively controlled by the militia.
None known at the present time,
TSS consists of at least four other sub-organizations according to the group’s own social media accounts and statements. The sub-organizations include:
Jihad al-Bina (the Construction Jihad) a development foundation engaged in providing services such as water facilities for poor communities.
Muasasat al-Shabab al-Riyadhi (the Athlete Youth Organization) which is engaged in youth sport activities such as footfall tournaments.
Muasasat Ibn al-Jawad al-Thaqafiya (Ibn al-Jawad Cultural Foundation) which organizes culture activities and events such as competition to create posters, etc.
JKIH whose members received training at the hands of the Lebanese Imam Mahdi Scout Association which reportedly help Lebanese Hezbollah recruit soldiers.
TSS operates its own YouTube channel, Telegram channel and Facebook page.