In Response To Inclusion Of Sayyid Al-Shuhada Brigades And Officials From Other Iran-Backed Militias In Iraq On U.S. OFAC List Of Specially Designated Nationals, Militia Leaders Say It Is ‘A Mark Of Honor;’ We Will Continue To Wear Down The Enemy Until Victory

November 19, 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 17, 2023, the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) designated six individuals affiliated with the Iran-Aligned Militia Group (IAMG) Hizbullah Brigades; and the Sayyid Al-Shuhada Brigades militia and its leader Hashim Finyan Rahim Al-Saraji "Abu Alaa Al-Walai," as Specially Designated Nationals (SDN).[1] The heads of the militias that were so designated described the American decision as “a mark of honor” and “a source of pride,” and asserted that the decision would not deter them from continuing their operations aimed at “wearing down the enemy.” Leaders of other Iran-backed Iraqi militias, including the Al-Nujaba Movement and Al-Zafireen or Islamic Resistance – The Group of Victors expressed support for the groups that were added to the SDN list and threatened that they would also carry out attacks that would “hurt the occupation on its bases” until victory is achieved.

The following is a review of the responses to the OFAC decision:

Militia Leaders Added To SDN List Respond: ‘Mark Of Honor;’ We Will Continue ‘To Wear Down The Enemy’

On November 17, 2023, the information bureau of the Sayyid Al-Shuhada Brigades expressed satisfaction at the decision by OFAC to include the brigades’ secretary-general, Abu Alaa Al-Walai, on the list of those against whom sanctions would be applied, describing it as a “mark of honor” and a response by the U.S. to the “pain and sleepless nights” that Al-Walai and his people were causing it.[2] On the same day, Al-Walai tweeted on his X (formerly Twitter) account that he viewed the American decision as a source of pride. He also quoted remarks made by the former Supreme Leader of Iran, the imam Khomeini, which state that whoever the U.S. is pleased with should reexamine himself. He praised the members of his organization and the Hizbullah Brigades for this “tremendous honor.”[3]

On November 18, the Fatemiyoun Companies Telegram channel, which supports Iran-backed militias in Iraq, shared a poster which shows the Sayyid Al-Shuhada Brigades secretary-general Al-Walai stepping on an American flag. Visible in the background is a photograph of the guard post at the entrance to the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad, apparently from late December 2020, when it was stormed and set fire to during violent demonstrations held by the militias who were protesting an attack on their positions on the Iraq-Syria border. The Arabic and English text on the poster reads, “[Your] sanctions are under our feet.”[4]

Also on November 18, Iraqi Hizbullah Brigades spokesman Abu Ali Al-Askari posted a statement on his Telegram channel in which he mocked the OFAC decision and wrote that it indicates “the stupidity and lack of realism” on the part of the decisionmakers in the U.S., for such steps, he claimed, “Will not deter our brave jihadi fighters from fulfilling their duty in the campaign of truth against falsehood.” In his statement, Al-Askari also asserted, among other things, that the operations of the Islamic resistance in Iraq against “the enemies” were being carried out in the framework of “a strategy to wear down the enemy,” and that in accordance with this strategy the resistance would choose the scope, the parameters, and the timing of its operations.[5]

Response Of Other Iran-Backed, Iraqi Militias: We Will Continue ‘To Hurt The Occupation’ Until We Achieve Victory

The Al-Zafireen or Islamic Resistance – The Group of Victors militia issued a statement on November 18 in which it congratulated the Sayyid Al-Shuhada Brigades and the Hizbullah Brigades for their inclusion on the SDN list, which it referred to as “the list of honor, pride and resistance.” The militia asserted that it supports these groups and their activity against “this transient enemy,” and threatened to carry out attacks that “will hurt the occupation on its bases.”[6]

Another response on November 18, from Iraqi Al-Nujaba Movement militia leader Akram Al-Ka'abi on his X (formerly Twitter) account, congratulated “the mujahideen brothers” who were included in the list of those against whom American sanctions would be applied, and described it as, “The white list of valor decreed by the black global country of tyranny.” He also boasted about the drone and missile attacks by “the Islamic resistance in Iraq” against “the Zionist settlements on occupied Palestinian territory,” and the bases of the American army in Iraq and in Syria, and urged the Iraqi people to demonstrate patience and self-sacrifice until the achievement of “the historic victory which will be engraved in gold letters on the forehead of a proud and free Iraq.”[7]



[1], November 17, 2023. Those who are listed as Specially Designated Nationals have their assets blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them. It is notable that, in 2009, the Hizbullah Brigades was designated by the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) for having been responsible for numerous terrorist attacks against U.S. and Iraqi government targets in Iraq.

[2] Telegram, November 17, 2023.

[3] Twitter, November 17, 2023.

[4] Telegram, November 18, 2023.

[5] Telegram, November 18, 2023.

[6] Telegram, November 18, 2023.

[7] Twitter, November 18, 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


MEMRI is a 501(c)3 organization.  All donations are tax-deductible and kept strictly confidential.