Iraqi Shi'ite Street Gang Threatens German Television Station That Satirized Iran-Backed Iraqi Shi'ite Militias

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November 12, 2020

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On November 11, the newly founded Iraqi Shi'ite group,Rab'a Allah ("Allah's Guys"), which has been involved in several incidents of vandalism and arson targeting mostly media outlets in Iraq released a poster on Telegram with an implicit threat to attack the local office of a Western broadcaster.

The group, one of several street gangs that have surfaced in Iraq over the past few months, has bluntly threatened to silence anyone it perceives as being opposed to Shi'ite ideology. It has been involved in several incidents of vandalism and arson targeting primarily media outlets in Iraq.[1]

The poster features a group member facing two wall boards, one listing the group's previous targets and the other its next targets.

Raba' Allah's poster. (Source: Telegram, November 11, 2020)

On the list of next targets is German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW), whose Arabic section has been airing a weekly TV news satire and talk show hosted by Iraqi comedian Ahmad Al-Basheer, whose photo the poster featured with its list of future targets.

Al-Basheer and his fellow performers have become very popular among Iraqi youth and anti-Iran protesters because of their mocking and sharp criticism of Iran-backed Shi’ite militias. On November 11, DW tweeted that the show's new season will begin on November 13.[2]

DW’s tweet (Source: Twitter, November 11, 2020)

Under previous targets, the poster listed three Baghdad institutions: the offices of Dijlah TV, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the U.S. Embassy.[3]

The poster also showed pieces of paper that included quotes from unnamed television channels and embassies.

On October 19, the group issued a statement claiming responsibility for several incidents, including a demonstration near the Saudi Embassy in Baghdad in July against Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat for publishing an 'offensive' cartoon of Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani.

The statement also acknowledged that Rab'a Allah stormed and torched the offices of Dijlah TV in Baghdad in August because it broadcast a festive song on Ashura, the Shi'ite day of mourning for Imam Hussein.

On October 17, Rab'a Allah torched the Baghdad office of the KDP after former Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari, a senior KDP member, accused Shi'ite militias of operating outside the law.

On October 2, Rab'a Allah made a threat on its Telegram channel to target satellite TV channel Al-Hurra, which is funded by the U.S. government, for its "insulting" coverage of Abu Fadak Al-Mohammedawi, chief of staff of the Popular Mobilization Units.[4]

Raba' Allah Telegram post threatening Al-Hurra (Source: Telegram, October 2, 2020)

 

[1] Telegram, SabreenS1, November 11, 2020.

[2] Twitter.com/dw_arabic, November 11, 2020.

[4] Telegram, SabreenS1, October 2, 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

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