Two New Iraqi Shi'ite Groups Vow To Launch 'Qualitative Operations' Targeting U.S. 'Occupation', Accuse Al-Sudani Government Of Betrayal For Not Expelling U.S. Forces

June 4, 2023

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On June 2, 2023, a new Telegram channel, Kata'eb Al-Sabereen [Battalions of the Patient or Steadfast] was created, and on the same day posted a message in the name of "the Islamic resistance, Kata'eb Al-Sabereen" declaring the group's readiness to carry out attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq.[1] As of June 4, the channel has 283 subscribers. It should be noted that the new group has not yet claimed any attacks on U.S. troops in the country.

Kata'eb Al-Sabereen Vows Defiantly: "Our Operations Will Never Stop", Iraqi Prisons Do Not Frighten Us

Quoting Quran 22:39: "Permission [to fight back] is granted to those being fought, for they have been wronged. And Allah is truly Most Capable of helping them," the statement declares that "resisting occupation" is obligatory, based on "divine laws," international law, and "sound human nature." Accordingly, the group announces it will begin "military operations" against "any presence of the American occupation forces in our beloved Iraq and the region as a whole," accusing Mohammed Shia' Al-Sudani's government of dereliction for not enforcing the schedule of U.S. forces' planned withdrawal from the country and of even becoming a "collaborator" with the Americans by signing certain agreements. Addressing the Iraqi government, Kata'eb Al-Sabereen declares: "Our operations will not be stopped by your agreements, ceasefires, or pressure on the dear mujahideen. Your prisons and oppression will never frighten us. We in the Islamic Resistance stress that from now on, our operations will never stop, and neither your bases, fortresses, or politicians will protect them [i.e. the Americans] from our raids and operations. Peace upon those who follow [Allah's] guidance, and constant curses upon the aggressors, oppressors, and collaborators."

Telegram Channels Supporting Iran-Backed Shi'ite Militias In Iraq Pledge To Fight U.S. Forces At New Group's Side

Several longstanding Telegram channels supporting Iran-backed Shi'ite militias in Iraq expressed their support for the new group.

A few hours after Kata'eb Al-Sabereen's inaugural post, the Saraya Al-Shahid Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis [Squadrons of the Martyr Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis] channel addressed "the beloved brothers, the noble resistance fighters of Kata'eb Al-Sabereen," declaring: "We have long waited for your emergence." Praising the members of the new group as "unknown to the people of the Earth but known to those in Heaven," the channel continued: "We ask Allah to grant us [the opportunity to wage] jihad side-by-side, against the aggressors and invaders, and may we be among the soldiers of the Hidden Imam, the awaited Mahdi (we sacrifice our lives for him)."[2]

The Saraya Fatemiyoun [Fatemiyoun Squadrons] channel published a post with the identical text. A few hours later, the channel added: "Waiting for the signal."[3]

Kata'eb Karbala Accuses Government Of Betrayal, Vows "Many Qualitative Military Operations" Against U.S. Forces

On the following day, another new group, Kata'eb Karbala [Karbala Battalions], published its own "military statement" with a similar vow to attack U.S. forces in Iraq. As of June 4, the new channel has amassed 161 subscribers.

Beginning with a quote from Quran 61:4: "Surely Allah loves those who fight in His cause in a single rank as if they were one concrete structure," the group declared that "in the context of resisting and defending the sovereignty of our beloved country, Kata'eb Karbala announces its complete readiness to confront the American presence and stresses its legitimate right to carry out many qualitative military operations. This is the project of liberating [ourselves] and gaining independence, to defend our land and honor, until achieving the great victory of expelling the occupation from all of Iraq. Particularly after the current government has failed, as some statements have been issued [by it] which constitute a betrayal of our nation and harm our cause." Asserting that the group "will not be harmed by the betrayal of the [would-be] defender or exhausted by length of time," it added: "So let the noble rifles speak."[4]

The many Iran-backed Shi'ite militias in Iraq, some of which appear to be fronts for other, better-known organizations, have repeatedly called to attack U.S. forces which have remained in the country, ostensibly in advisory and assistance roles, following the end of their combat mission on December 31, 2021.[5] Threats to the remaining American soldiers in Iraq intensified after U.S. ambassador Alina L. Romanowski stated on May 16 that the U.S. has no intention of leaving Iraq, and following reports of additional U.S. troops arriving at the Ayn Al Asad airbase in Iraq's Al-Anbar governorate and U.S. plans to build a second base in the same governorate.[6]


[1] Telegram, June 2, 2023.

[2] Telegram, June 2, 2023.

[3] Telegram, June 2, 2023.

[4] Telegram, June 3, 2023.

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