November 8, 2017 Special Dispatch No. 7170

Iraqi Elements To Lebanese Daily Close To Hizbullah: We Will Fight U.S. Forces In Iraq After ISIS Is Defeated

November 8, 2017
Iran, Iraq, Lebanon | Special Dispatch No. 7170

In the past two weeks, the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, which is close to Hizbullah, published a front-page article and an interview quoting Iraqi elements, who state that, after the Islamic State (ISIS) is defeated, they intend to continue their military activity, focusing it this time against U.S. troops who are now on Iraqi soil fighting ISIS. The daily quotes "sources from the Iraqi resistance," as well as Akram Al-Ka'bi, secretary-general of Al-Nujaba, a faction of the pro-Iran Shi'ite Al-Hashd Al-Sha'bi militia (the Popular Mobilization Forces, PMU) in Iraq. Al-Nujaba is included in the Iranian Proxies Terrorist Sanctions Act of 2017, a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on November 3, which aims to level sanctions against it and its "officials, agents, or affiliates," including Al-Ka'bi.[1]

It should be noted that threats of harming U.S. forces in the region were also expressed recently by Iranian representatives, to mark the November 4 anniversary of the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover in Tehran. For example, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commander Ali Jafari said, on October 31, 2017: "The range of our missiles is limited to 2,000 km... [T]he Americans are sufficiently situated within a 2,000-km radius around Iran. We will respond to them if they attack us."[2] To underline these statements, a Qadr-F ballistic missile with a 2,000-km range was parked in front of the former embassy building for the main Iranian ceremony marking the anniversary.[3]

The following is the translation of the main points of the threats by the Iraqi elements as quoted in Al-Akhbar:

Iraqi Resistance Elements: The Units "Are Already Prepared To Begin Their Operations" Against The Americans In Iraq

On November 1, 2017, the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar published an article quoting "Iraqi resistance" elements declaring their intent to attack U.S. troops in Iraq, who, according to the article, number between 7,000 and 25,000.  These elements told the newspaper: "We will not lay down our arms at the end of [the war against] ISIS," and added that the end would for them be "a call for reorganizing our ranks and preparing for the great conflict with the Americans."

The article added: "The American forces deployed in Iraq will constitute 'targets for new attacks' to be carried out by the resistance factions who see the American presence as a 'new occupation'..." It continued: "Today, calls are increasing in Iraq for planning to carry out military-security operations against the 'new [American] occupation'  where it is situated in Iraq. According to the sources, 'the [resistance] units in charge of the confrontation [with the U.S. forces] are already prepared to begin their operations.'"

The sources presented the newspaper with three stages of the war against the American occupation: the first stage, 2003-2011, during which, they said, they "succeeded in defeating the American occupation by means of Iraqi efforts and Iranian and Lebanese support, hinting at Hizbullah." The second phase, they said, began in 2011 "with the Americans' exit from Iraq, when clashes with 'the [Americans'] agent' began, referring to the nucleus of ISIS and the terror organizations," and the third phase, which is yet to come, is, they said, called "the post-ISIS struggle."

The article also stated that most of the resistance factions believe that the main goals of the U.S. and its allies are "the cantonization and division of Iraq" and "'transforming the country [i.e. Iraq] into a forward base, in order to close in on Iran from its western border in light of the crises in the region. Accordingly the activity of the factions is aimed at 'liberating the country' [in order to] thwart the actualization of the goals mentioned."[4]

Al-Akhbar Front Page, November 1, 2017: "A Return To Confronting The U.S. In Iraq!"

Al-Nujaba Secretary-General Al-Ka'bi: Our Role "Is To Strike At Every American Military Presence In Iraq"

On November 4, 2017, three days after Al-Akhbar published the above article, it published an interview with Akram Al-Ka'bi, the secretary-general of Al-Nujaba, one of the factions of Al-Hashd Al-Sha'bi (PMU). Asked about the stated intention of some of the resistance factions to return to carrying out military operations against the Americans, he said: "Yes, our main role in the resistance factions, and one of our aims, is to prevent any occupation of Iraq. The Islamic resistance [in Iraq] was established with the beginning of the American occupation [of the country] in 2003, and therefore its role is to strike at every American military presence in Iraq and to prevent it from remaining, particularly when it is a non-diplomatic presence."[5]

Akram Al-Ka'bi. Source: Al-Akhbar, Lebanon, November 4, 2017.


[1], November 3, 2017. The bill notes that Al-Ka'bi "participated in multiple mortar and rocket attacks on the International Zone, or Green Zone, in Baghdad in early 2008," and that "[he] and other Nujaba commanders have claimed they follow orders from Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and declared in March 2016 support for Lebanese Hizballah."

[4] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), November 1, 2017.

[5] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), November 4, 2017.

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