2019-12-08 Iraq||Khazali: The anti-Israel, pro-Iran leader in Iraq who the US sanctioned
[Jpost] Sanctions against Qais al-Khazali target the leader of Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) militia that has targeted the US and threatened Israel.
| Can’t know the players without a program!|
Qais Khazali once enjoyed a leisurely trip to southern Leb. It was December 2017, two years ago. Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias in Iraq were enjoying the height of their fame after having helped defeat ISIS and linking up with Syrian regime forces on the Syrian border of Iraq. They were cheering. Khazali was dreaming of larger plans: An attack on Israel using Iraqi Shi’ite, Iranian IRGC forces, Hezbollah and other elements from across the region.
On December 6, 2019 the US sanctioned Khazali along with other pro-Iranian elements in Iraq, accusing them of various abuses, including killing protesters and working with Iran’s IRGC. The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Aassets Control (OFAC) designated Khazali along with Laith al-Khazali and Husayn Falih Aziz al-Lami under an Executive Order that enables the blocking of those involved in human rights
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...which are often intentionally defined so widely as to be meaningless...
abuses. This is a December 2017 executive order. It has been used against Khazali under the context of the last two months in which groups like Khazali’s Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia has been involved in killing protesters.
The US decision targets Qais and his brother. It calls them leaders of the Asaib Ahl al Haq and notes that Qais was part of a committee of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force proxies that "approved lethal violence against protesters." Just hours after the US decision was made public, plain clothed militias bumped off more than a dozen protesters in Baghdad. Since October 1 more than 500 protesters have been killed and some 15,000 injured. Khazali has been threatening the US and Israel for years, but his rhetoric increased during the protests.
In October an Asaib Ahl al-Haq commander in Missan was killed confronting protesters. His name was Wissam al-Alawi (Alyawi). At his funeral, which was attended by the leader of the Popular Mobilization Units, the umbrella group of militias that includes Khazali’s group, the members vowed Dire Revenge. "His blood is on America and Israel’s hands, I will take Dire Revenge many times over," Khazali said. Hadi al-Amiri, head of the Fatah Alliance party in Iraq’s parliament, who also runs the Badr Organization which is allied to Khazali, supported Khazali’s view that the US and Israel were to blame.
The US says that AAH has been involved in abuses in Diyala province, killing Sunni Arabs. It says that Laith Khazali ran attacks in the province in 2015. But the US sanctions also reach back to 2007 when it accuses the brothers of involvement in an attack on US forces that killed five soldiers in Karbala. This is a reminder the Khazali was once detained by the US after the attack and held at Camp Cropper in Iraq. According to a report at VOA he was interrogated by US intelligence who were impressed by his abilities. He had a "magnetic personality." He was released in 2009 in a trade for a British hostage. After 2011 he sent fighters to Syria to help the Assad regime, helping him gain more access to Hezbollah in Leb, which is also backed by Iran. His AAH eventually had more than 10,000 fighters. In 2014 when the US returned to Iraq to fight ISIS he called for a brief halt on attacks on Americans. Khazali has influence over the 12th brigade of the PMU and the 41, 42 and 43rd brigades of AAH members.
The US says that Khazali’s group is linked to the IRGC pursuant to the 2001 Executive Order 12334 targeting those who support terrorism. Iran’s IRGC was designated as part of that order and AAH is linked to the IRGC. The US says Khazali’s group is a component of Iran’s destabilizing activities. In 2019 the US designated the IRGC a Foreign Terrorist Organization. Pompeo said on Friday that by taking the action against Khazali and others the US was using legal authority to go after those who are targeting peaceful protests. The US wants these militias to put Iraq first, not Iran. In 2017 US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on Iraq to send the militias, like Khazali, home. Instead Iraq’s Haider al Abadi said the militias are the hope of the future of Iraq in October 2017.
Empowered by Abadi and Iraq’s decision to incorporate the PMU, including Khazali’s AAH, into the Iraqi security forces in 2017, Khazali planned his trip to Leb. He came to Leb in fatigues and toured the border with Hezbollah. "We declare our full readiness to stand with the Lebanese people and the Paleostinian cause against the unjust Israeli occupation that is hostile to Islam, Arabs and humanity." Leb’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri
...Second son of Rafik Hariri, the Leb PM who was assassinated in 2005. He has was prime minister in his own right from 2009 through early 2011. He was born in Riyadh to an Iraqi mother and graduated from Georgetown University. He managed his father's business interests in Riyadh until his father's assassination. When his father died he inherited a fortune of some $4.1 billion, which won't do him much good if Hizbullah has him bumped off, too....
was outraged at the time and ordered Khazali banned from Leb. But more Iraqi-based militia leaders would come to Leb in 2018. Khazali’s links to Hezbollah are important. They were associating with Hezbollah back in 2007 during the period leading up to their capture by the US, according to an article at the Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point. He told an interviewer in January 2018 that US troops should leave Iraq.
The US said on Friday that there are increasing rocket attacks on US bases in Iraq. The US State Department lifted the lid on dozens of rockets fired at Balad, Camp Taji, Ain al-Assad and Q-West bases, as well as at the Green Zone over the last seven months. "We’re waiting for full evidence, but if past is prologue, then there’s a good chance that Iran
...a theocratic Shiite state divided among the Medes, the Persians, and the (Arab) Elamites. Formerly a fairly civilized nation ruled by a Shah, it became a victim of Islamic revolution in 1979. The nation is today noted for
spontaneously taking over other countries' embassies, maintaining whorehouses run by clergymen, involvement in international drug trafficking, and financing sock puppet
militias to extend the regime's influence. The word
Iran is a cognate form of
Aryan, the abbreviation
IRGC is a cognate form of
Stürmabteilung (or SA), the term
Supreme Guide is a cognate form of either
Führer or maybe both, and they hate
Jews Zionists Jews. Their economy is based on the production of oil and vitriol...
was behind it," David Schenker, Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, said. Pompeo blamed Iran for an attack in May near the US embassy. Although Khazali is not linked to these attacks yet, the US sanctions and the background the US has detaining Khazali illustrate the larger context.
Khazali’s threats to Israel are also important amid the recent tensions. In August Israel struck a "killer drone" team near the Golan that included members of Hezbollah. On November 20 Israeli
s targeted IRGC facilities in Syria. In addition the New York Times
...which still proudly displays Walter Duranty's Pulitzer prize...
says Iran is moving short-range ballistic missiles to Iraq. They might be stored by Shi’ite militias like Khazali and his network. In July and August four PMU munitions sites blew up mysteriously and Iraq’s Prime Minister blamed Israel for the attacks.
The sanctions on Khazali now mean the US has targeted many parts of the PMU. It had already labelled the deputy PMU leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis a terrorist. It also sanctioned Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba in March. Like Khazali, Muhandis has played a role in Syria and has wider links to Hezbollah. A headquarters of Muhandis’ Kataib Hezbollah militia was hit by an airstrike in June of 2018. The headquarters was near a new Iranian base called Imam Ali that has been constructed near Albukamal in Syria. Khazali’s role and connections to the PMU and other groups make him a key element in threats to US forces and threats to Israel. His militia’s role suppressing protesters also mean he is a threat to Iraqi civilians. The US sanctions have now made that clear, even though the US has known this since 2007 when Khazali first emerged as a threat.
|Posted by trailing wife 2019-12-08 00:00||
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