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On May 13 and May 15, 2023, a Telegram channel which supports Iran-backed militias in Iraq shared posts threatening the U.S. military and warning Iraqi leaders not to challenge its power.
Directed at Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' Al-Sudani, one post appeared to suggest the possibility of violence between the government and militias, following reports about a brief clash that took place just one day earlier.
Threatening American Troops
On May 13, the Telegram channel shared a post reminding Al-Sudani that he needs to put an end the U.S. presence in Iraq. The post vowed to end the U.S. presence, which it called an occupation, by any means necessary.
"[Iraqi Hizbullah Brigades Secretary-General Abu Hussein] Al-Hamidawi told me to end negotiations with the Sudani government. It is time to for the American occupation to leave, if not diplomatically, then with a missile."
Another post, dated May 15, suggested that two Iran-backed "resistance factions" were planning a "harsh attack against the American occupation."
The post stated: "Two blessed factions will participate, one old in its founding, another new in its assaults. Written next to the latter[…]those with problems and those who defend their ideology to launch harsh attack against the American occupation."
Telegram Channel Warns Against Opposing Hizbullah Brigades
A third post, also from May 15, again referenced the U.S. military presence in Iraq and suggested that Al-Sudani intended to attack Iraq's Hizbullah Brigades when a time limit, imposed by pro-Iran politicians and paramilitary groups for the withdrawal of U.S. forces, expires.
"When Al-Sudani's time limit to schedule the withdrawal of the U.S. presence ends, he will attack Iraq's Hizbullah Brigades."
The post warned against angering the militant group and its fighters, saying: "Oh, Al-Sudani, these are the Hizbullah Brigades. Do not attack them and be careful of the anger of the mujahideen."
Report On Clash Between Iraqi Police And Hizbullah
The cryptic posts and their warnings of potential violence came a day after clashes south of Baghdad.
On May 14, two Iraqi Federal Police officers were wounded in fighting with Hizbullah in Al-Bu'itha, Al-Dora. The conflict arose over a land dispute involving the militia, according to a report from Shafaq News, an anti-Iran news website.
Two days later, a Telegram channel issued a statement that, without naming the parties involved in the fighting, confirming that there was a confrontation as the result of a dispute involving public lands in Al-Bu'itha, south Baghdad.
"Two officers were lightly wounded. Security forces immediately took legal measures, dealt with those involved, arrested them, referred them for investigation, and removed the illegal encroachments on the land in the Al-Bu'itha area."
The release, which was circulated on numerous Telegram channels supportive of Shi'ite militias, also implied that dangerous rumors were circulating as a result of the violence and associated tensions.
"We emphasize the importance of relying on news and reports from official sources from appropriate authorities, without re-interpretation, rumors, and the opportunity to tamper with security and societal stability to disturb the general situation for suspicious goals and desires."
 Telegram, May 13, 2023.
 Telegram, May 15, 2023.
 Telegram, May 15, 2023.
 Shafaq.com, May 15, 2023.
 Telegram, May 16, 2023.
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