Dr. Hamdi Malik is an Associate Fellow with the Washington Institute, specializing in Shia militias. He is the co-founder of the Militia Spotlight platform, which offers in-depth analysis of developments related to the Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria. He is the coauthor of the Institute's 2020 study "Honored, Not Contained: The Future of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces."
Qais al-Khazali, Muhammad Mohi, and Nasr al-Shammari have all provided televised prima facie evidence of their groups' involvement in acts of anti-coalition terrorism.
By its own admission, the Iraqi Resistance Coordination Committee (al-Haya al-Tansiqiya lil-Muqawama al-Iraqiya, or Tansiqiya for short) is responsible for attacking U.S. forces and interests in Iraq. Three leaders of Iran-backed militias—all of which are members of the Iraqi state-supported Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF)—have admitted in television interviews that their groups are members of the Tansiqiya.
Khazali Says the Truce Has Ended
First Qais al-Khazali, the leader of Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH), appeared on al-Iraqiya TV on November 19, 2020. This was after the Tansiqiya issued its first statement on October 10 to announce a conditional truce. The anchor asked about the truce and whether Jeanine Plasschaert, special representative of the secretary-general for the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, had any role in the truce. Khazali denied Plasschaert had any role and said: “We realized that the operations started to come to fruition. The American side started getting hurt and couldn’t bear this situation and therefore began psychological pressure, that the embassy would be relocated and that’s going to be harmful for Iraq...Some national political figures intervened, the main of whom was Hadi al-Ameri...We saw that [announcing the truce] is useful in achieving three goals at one time...We sent a message that we are not interested in war and bloodshed.”
The presenter then asked another question about the truce: “If the conditions were not met, when would you go back to carry arms?”
Khazali: “The conditions were not met, and the truce has ended.”
This is a clear admission by the leader of AAH that he and his group were involved in attacking U.S. forces and interests, and subsequently in the process that led to the announcement of the truce.
KH Spokesman: We Gave the Americans a Conditional Opportunity
Five days later, on November 24, the Iranian network al-Alam published an article titled "Kataib Hezbollah talks to al-Alam about the latest developments regarding the truce with the American forces." The article includes an interview with Muhammad Mohi, spokesman for Kataib Hezbollah (KH).
The anchor asks Mohi about the international players who had a role in this truce. Mohi replies: “There are many parties who had a role, but the regional and local parties had a great role to reach this position. This is a responsible position, which does not mean fear of the Americans, nor a concession on the principles. We still stick to our principles, and that is why we gave them this conditional period and this conditional opportunity.”
Nujaba Spokesman: We Are Part of the Tansiqiya
Harakat al-Nujaba (HaN) spokesman Nasr al-Shammari appeared on Dijlah TV on February 28, 2021. He was asked directly by the anchor whether HaN is part of the Tansiqiya. His answer couldn’t be clearer: "[HaN] is part of the Tansiqiya, part of the Tansiqiya, yes, part of the Tansiqiya.”
These admissions constitute compelling evidence that known militias and PMF members are in fact behind the facade groups that frequently claim responsibility for attacking U.S. troops and interests in Iraq.