MESOP : MULLAHS ARMED BY OBAMA – Iranian-backed militia seen with US tank in Iraq
BY CALEB WEISS | February 8th, 2016 | firstname.lastname@example.org | @Weissenberg7 – A US-made M1 Abrams tank can be seen with the flag of the Iranian-backed militia Kata’ib Sayyid al Shuhada. – Kata’ib Sayyid al Shuhada (KSS), an Iranian-backed Shia militia which operates in both Syria and Iraq, has been spotted using a US-made M1 Abrams tank in a recently released video. The video, which is a montage of different militias within the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU’s), a Shia-led collection of militias in Iraq, has been shared on several PMU social media outlets.
Around the 16 second mark of the video, a KSS flag can clearly be seen atop an Abrams. It is unclear exactly where the militia is located during this clip, but it is likely within Iraq’s central Salahadin province, where KSS has done a considerable amount of fighting against the Islamic State. It is also unclear when the footage was taken, however, the footage is likely recent since the montage was released two days ago. It is also likely the tank is from the Iraqi Army, as the militias operate with and alongside the Iraqi security forces.
KSS is not the first Shiite militia to publicize its use of an M1 Abrams. The Hezbollah Brigades, a US-designated foreign terrorist organization, showed an Abrams flying the Hezbollah Brigades flag earlier last year. Additionally, the group has also published two videos from Iraq’s Anbar province in which several US-made vehicles are used by its forces. [See LWJ report, Video shows Hezbollah Brigades convoy transporting American M1 tank, and Threat Matrix report, Hezbollah Brigades flaunts US equipment in Anbar operation.]
The Badr Organization, another Iranian-backed Shiite militia, has also publicized photos showing its forces in possession of an Abrams. These photos showed the militia with the tank, and at least one US AT-4 anti-tank rocket, near Saqlawiyah in Anbar last year. [See Threat Matrix report, Badr Organization fighters pose with US M1 Abrams tank.]
KSS is closely linked to Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) – Qods Force, the Iranian government’s special operations branch which foments and supports Islamic revolutions in the Middle East. The militia is led by Abu Mustafa al Sheibani, who was listed by the US government as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in January 2008 for attacking US and British forces, as well as Iraqi political and military leaders. (For more on Sheibani and KSS see LWJ reports, Popular Mobilization Committee militia threatens to ‘strike and destroy’ the Saudi government and Iran sends another dangerous Shia terror commander back to Iraq.)
Caleb Weiss is an intern at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributor to The Long War Journal.