Iran-Backed Militias From Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, And Yemen Reportedly Met In Tehran In Summer 2023 To Establish 'Joint Operations Chamber' To Confront U.S., Israel On Regional Level

November 10, 2023

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

On November 7, 2023, U.K-based Amwaj Media reported that factions of the Iran-led Axis of Resistance met in Tehran in early summer 2023 to establish a joint operations chamber to counter Israel and the U.S. on the regional level.[1] The outlet also reported that the chamber has since been activated in the aftermath of the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7.

'Primary Purpose Of The Axis Of Resistance Is To Liberation Jerusalem'

According to “informed sources,” Amwaj Media reported that militia leaders from Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Yemen gathered in Tehran in early summer 2023 to hold “detailed” talks over demarcating the responsibilities of each faction in the event of a “comprehensive confrontation” with the U.S. and Israel. Iranian leadership presided over discussions; Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reportedly highlighted to the regional factions that “the primary purpose of the ‘Axis of Resistance’ is to ‘liberate’ Jerusalem.”

Khamenei Manages Competition Among Militias

The meetings also provided a venue for managing competition between Iraqi militias, according to the report. Khamenei and IRGC-QF Commander Esma’il Qa’ani reportedly met privately with Iraqi militia leaders including secretary-general of Asa’ib Ahl Al-Haq, Qais Al-Khazali; Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) Chairman Falih Al-Fayyadh and Chief of Staff Abdulaziz (Abu Fadak) Al-Muhammadawi; Secretary-General of Hizbullah Brigades Ahmad (Abu Hussein) Al-Hamidawi; Badr Organization leader Hadi Al-Ameri; the secretary-general of the Al-Nujaba Movement, Akram Al-Kaabi; the head of the Sayyid Al-Shuhada Brigades, Abu Ala Al-Walai; and, the secretary-general of the Ansar Allah Al-Awfiya Movement, Haidar Al-Gharawi.

In the meeting, Iranian-Iraqi discussions centered on “control over the chairmanship of the PMU,” with some militia leaders seeking to oust current PMU chairman Al-Fayyadh, while Khamanei expressed support for Al-Fayyadh’s continued tenure to “maintain unity in the PMU leadership.”

In a standalone session with Iraqi militia leaders – reportedly the first of its kind – Khamanei also expressed Iran’s prioritization of Iraqi affairs, advising that Iraqi interests must be balanced against “abandoning principles” in engagement with the U.S. He also chastised inter-Shi’ites divides in Iraq, stressing the need for maintaining unity and waring that “there is a precise Iranian assessment of what is unfolding next door [in Iraq].”’

'Hizbullah Brigades Plans To End U.S. Presence In Region'

The report also claimed that secretary-general of the Hizbullah Brigades, Al-Hamidawi, told Khamenei that his group "plans to end the U.S presence in the region, and that it is ready to deal heavy blows to NATO as well." According to the report, Khamenei "rejected the proposition, indicating that it is not on Iran's agenda at the time."

Building Iraq Or Preserving Resistance?

Asa'ib Ahl Al-Haq secretary-general Al-Khazali also reportedly asked Khamenei what he believes is the most pressing priority: "building a state in Iraq or preserving the resistance." According to the article, "The Iranian leader seemingly avoided a direct answer, with some attendees later interpreting Khazali’s question as geared to seek cover from the Iranian top leader to pursue some of his own economic and political endeavors."

A screenshot of a websiteDescription automatically generated


[1] November 7, 2023.

The full text of this post is available to subscribers.

Please login or register to request subscription information from MEMRI


The Cyber & Jihad Lab

The Cyber & Jihad Lab monitors, tracks, translates, researches, and analyzes cyber jihad originating from the Middle East, Iran, South Asia, and North and West Africa. It innovates and experiments with possible solutions for stopping cyber jihad, advancing legislation and initiatives federally – including with Capitol Hill and attorneys-general – and on the state level, to draft and enforce measures that will serve as precedents for further action. It works with leaders in business, law enforcement, academia, and families of terror victims to craft and support efforts and solutions to combat cyber jihad, and recruits, and works with technology industry leaders to craft and support efforts and solutions.

Read More