December 7, 2021 Special Dispatch No. 9667

Iranian-Backed Militias In Iraq Declare Ultimatum: U.S. Forces Must Leave By December 31, 2021, Or Attacks Will Escalate

December 7, 2021
Iraq | Special Dispatch No. 9667

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

During November 2021, the Iranian-backed militias in Iraq increased their threats against the American forces in the country and warned that they must leave by December 31, 2021, or else the attacks against them will be escalated.

On July 26, 2021, during a press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, U.S. President Joe Biden said, "We're not going to be by the end of the year in a combat mission," however, the American forces in Iraq will continue "to train, to help and to deal with ISIS…"[1] This statement was received with dissatisfaction by the Iranian-backed militias in the country, who seek the withdrawal of all the American forces. They set the end of 2021 as the deadline for the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq, and threaten to attack American interests if this deadline is not met.

The leaders of the militias, as well as their supporters, have repeatedly warned that if the U.S. does not abide by their target date, the attacks against American interests will be escalated. One specific target that has already been mentioned is the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Meanwhile, various armed groups supported by Iran have reported an increase in attacks against American logistic support convoys across Iraq, and refer to them as a "war of attrition."

It is likely that during the month of December, in the lead-up to the end of the year 2021, the threats will increase and the militias will redouble their efforts to perpetrate more terror attacks, perhaps even of greater scope, against the American forces in the country.

During November, JTTM published numerous reports documenting the threats by the militias and their claims of responsibility for attacks on American forces' logistic support convoys.[2]

On November 1, 2021, an Iranian-backed Iraqi group calling itself the Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis Companies released a statement threatening to attack American forces in Iraq if they don't leave the country by the end of 2021. An excerpt from the group's statement reads, "The American occupation only has a few days left until it must leave the pure land of Iraq… It is necessary that the withdrawal of the American forces not be [the only goal], that they should not be the only objective but that every traitor and collaborator with them should be in range of our fire which knows no mercy…"

(For more on this, see MEMRI JTTM report Shi'ite Group In Iraq: We Will Attack U.S. Forces In Iraq If They Don't Leave By The End Of The Year And Also Anyone Who Promotes Normalization With Israel, November 2, 2021.)

The Iraqi Resistance Coordination Committee (IRCC), an umbrella group comprising Iranian-backed Iraqi Shi'ite militias, issued a statement on November 19, 2021, pledging to take up arms against any U.S. forces remaining in the country after 2021. The statement reads: "We reaffirm that the weapons of the honorable resistance [...] will be ready to dismember the [U.S.] occupation as soon as the moment comes when the timetable [for the U.S. withdrawal] ends, at 12 in the evening on December 31, 2021."

(For more on this, see MEMRI JTTM report Iran-Backed Shi'ite Militias Threaten To Attack Any U.S. Forces Remaining In Iraq Past 2021, November 19, 2021.)

'Abbas Al-'Ardawi, a member of the Harakat Huqouq movement, which is affiliated with Hizbullah Brigades, addressed the American soldiers from his Twitter account and wished them a New Year's celebration with their families. He urged them not to rely on their leaders and warned that the Islamic resistance has decided to declare war against the American forces in Iraq on December 31, 2021, at midnight.

Hizbullah Brigades published a poster which depicts a Christmas tree comprised of the helmets of U.S. soldiers and rifles, with the English text, "Merry Christmas." An accompanying post states, "We will meet after the hour 00:00 on December 31, 2021."

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To prove the seriousness of the militias' intentions, the Sayyid Al-Shuhada' Brigades announced that it is recruiting new operatives to its ranks.

(For more on this, see MEMRI JTTM report Iran-Backed Militias In Iraq Continue To Threaten A "Comprehensive And Decisive Battle" If U.S. Forces Don't Withdraw From Iraq By The End Of 2021; Begin Recruitment Of Additional Forces, November 22, 2021.)

Supporters of the Iranian-backed militias have released posters and video clips threatening to attack the American forces in Iraq, including posters which threaten to attack the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

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(For more on this, see MEMRI JTTM report Pro-Shi'ite Militia Telegram Channels In Iraq Continue To Release Posters And Videos Threatening U.S. Forces In Iraq, Government Buildings In The U.S., December 2, 2021.)



[1], July 26, 2021.

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