"Ansar Allah al-Awfiya"

U.S. designates Iraqi armed faction as a terrorist group

NEWSROOM – The U.S. Department of State has designated the Iraqi militant group Ansar Allah Al-Awfiya (HAAA) and its Secretary-General Haider Al-Gharawi as terrorists, citing their involvement in attacks on coalition forces in Iraq and Syria.

The State Department announced on Monday that HAAA, which has close ties to Iran, is responsible for multiple attacks on U.S. and coalition forces. Notably, the group was implicated in an August 22 drone attack on a base in Jordan, resulting in the deaths of three U.S. soldiers.

The State Department stated it will take all necessary measures to weaken Iran-aligned militant groups and prevent further attacks on coalition forces. In response, HAAA described the designation as a response to its ‘heroic struggle and noble defense of oppressed peoples,” stating, “We will continue our resistance and struggle… These decisions only strengthen our resolve.”

HAAA members comprise Brigade 19 of the Popular Mobilization Forces, a critical component of the Iraqi security and defense complex. the Iraqi government has not yet officially reacted to the news of HAAA’s designation by the U.S. government.

The HAAA group, a splinter faction from the Sadrist Movement, was established in 2013 under the name “Harakat al-Sidq wa Al-Ataa” (Movement of Honesty and Giving) in Maysan province and began armed activities in 2014.

Since the recent conflict in Gaza, HAAA has operated under the banner of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella group of Iran-backed factions. Late last year year, HAAA was one of eight Iraqi armed factions called to meetings with senior Iranian officials in Tehran. The group is also accused of actively participating in the violent crackdown on the October 2019 protests in southern provinces.