Commander Of Pro-Iranian Iraqi Shi'ite Militia: The Resistance Factions Should Attack Turkish Forces In Northern Iraq

March 8, 2021


The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here.

Shibl Al-Zaidy, Secretary General of the Al-Imam Ali Battalions, an Iraqi Shi'ite militia loyal to Iran, urges the resistance factions in Iraq to relate to the members of the Turkish Armed Forces in the country as occupying forces and to attack them. Al-Zaidy posted a tweet saying that Turkey has no intention of withdrawing its forces from northern Iraq, and that those forces endanger Iraqi unity. He also criticized the Iraqi government for allowing Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia to interfere in the internal affairs of Iraq.[1]

Al-Zaidy expresses these sentiments in the context of the rising tensions in recent weeks between Iran and Turkey, following the Turkish military activity against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the Sinjar area in northern Iraq. Iraqi Shi'ite militias that are loyal to Iran have boosted their forces in the area, apparently at the behest of Iran. In recent weeks these militias have threatened to harm Turkish interests and have made good on those threats. On February 15, 2021, Ashab Al-Kahf (People of the Cave), an armed Iraqi Shi'ite group loyal to Iran, claimed responsibility for a rocket attack on a Turkish rear military outpost on the Turkey-Iraq border.[2]

Meanwhile, the Turkish press reported on a meeting that was held in Sinjar in the presence of Iranian officers, representatives of the PKK, representatives of the Al-Nujaba movement which is loyal to Iran, and Muhammad Al-Kawtharani, a senior member of Hizbullah-Lebanon who is responsible for coordination among the armed militias which are loyal to Iran. According to the report, the participants in the meeting agreed to arm the PKK and boost militia forces in the area.[3]

The recent tweet posted by Al-Zaidy reads: "… We object to the fact that the statelet of Qatar is permitted to establish and to command forces which are connected to it [in Iraq], just as [we object to] the suspicious projects of the UAE and Saudi Arabia, to their interference in the internal affairs of Iraq, to the creation of the discord and the ethnic divisions, to the dissemination of the chaos, to the destruction of the constitutional institutions, to the weakening of the economic infrastructure, and to the violation of the national unity. [We say] no, a thousand times no to the projects of the outsiders, and a thousand times yes to dialogue among the brothers and to national projects.

"This also includes the Turkish presence which endangers the unity and security of Iraq. It is perfectly clear that these are occupying forces which have no intention of withdrawing. Therefore, the brothers in the resistance [factions] must relate to them as to an occupying force and attack their interests and their presence in the same way [that they relate to] the rest of the hostile occupying elements."


[1], March 6, 2021.

[2] For more information about threats made by the militias against Turkey and the attacks on Turkish forces, see MEMRI JTTM Report: Pro-Iranian Shi’ite Militias In Iraq: We Will Attack The Turkish Forces If They Continue To Operate In Northern Iraq, February 15, 2021; Pro-Iranian Iraqi Group Claims Rocket Attack On Turkish Outpost On Turkey-Iraq Border, February 16, 2021.

[3], March 4, 2021.

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