Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, February 13, 2020—Al-Hurra TV aired a full report on the Iranian regime’s terrorism report card in the past 41 years, Tehran’s expansionist policy in the Middle East and establishing militia groups in six Arab and Islamic countries. Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the mullahs’ regime, insisted on establishing armed militia groups under the pretext of “resistance” and dispatching them to endless war-fronts throughout the region.
The export of reactionism by the Iranian regime is nothing secret, especially after senior regime officials in 2014 boasted about gaining control over four Arab capitals and describing this development as a major achievement. These capitals include Baghdad, Beirut, Sana’a, and Damascus.
Iran-backed militia groups have expanded to six Arab and Islamic capitals now and the Iranian regime is advancing its policies in this regard.
Following the U.S. troops’ premature withdrawal from Iraq in late 2011 the Iranian regime quickly began establishing new armed militia groups commanded by figures completely loyal to Iranian regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Force), despite being an Iraqi military force supposedly under the command of the Iraqi Defense Ministry, is actually the most powerful military organization linked to Iran and takes orders from Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
The most important Iraqi militia groups associated to the Iranian regime are Saraya al-Salam, the military wing of Muqtada Sadr; the Badr militias, led by Hadi al-Ameri; Kata’ib Hezbollah Iraq, aka the Abolvazl al-Abas Brigade under the command of Ous Jaffaji; Asaeb Ahl al-Haq under the command of Qais al-Khazali; and Hezbollah al-Nojaba under the command of Akram al-Ka’bi.
All these militia groups were used by the Iranian regime in the wars of Syria and Iraq.
The Iranian regime founded Lebanon's Hezbollah in the early 1980s as an extension of the IRGC. Hezbollah has since acted as an arm and proxy for the Iranian regime in Lebanon and beyond.
In 2008, Hezbollah used its weapons cached in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, following a political dispute regarding their special communications network. As a result, a new phase of dictating the Iranian regime’s viewpoints in Lebanon’s domestic politics began. Hezbollah was taking advantage of the presence of the Syrian regime in Lebanon following the country’s civil war. This provided a powerful influence for Hezbollah and the Assad regime to establish pathways for Tehran inside Lebanon. The Iranian regime used this opportunity to equip Hezbollah and the largest and most powerful militia group in the Middle East and imposed its political influence in Lebanon.
Hezbollah has played a major role in the wars of Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, and specific meddling in Bahrain and Kuwait based on orders delivered directly from Khamenei. It also has control over Lebanon’s political and military institutions.
The Houthis’ control over Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, has been the main tool of the Iranian regime in its warmongering policies in this area of the region. The relations between the Houthis and the Iranian regime dates back to 1994 when Badradeen al-Houthi, head of the so-called Ansarollah militia group, and his son Hossein, traveled to Iran. His son returned to Yemen to organize trips by dozens of Houthi supporters to Iran where his father was stationed under the pretext of continuing his studies.
From 2011 onward the Iranian regime provided financial, diplomatic, propaganda and military support for the Houthis with dozens of ships delivering drones, ballistic missiles and other military equipment. This support increased following the Saudi-led Arab coalition attacks targeting the Houthis.
The Houthis’ control over Sana’a is one of the most significant signs of the Iranian regime’s malign influence in the Middle East.
The Iranian regime has been involved in the war in Syria since 2011. However, Tehran’s influence increased by dispatching dozens of Iranian and foreign military and militia forces from Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan and Afghanistan to prop up the Assad regime. Based on the various analyses, the total number of Iran-backed militia forces in Syria reached at least 60,000.
Most of the Iranian militia groups are stationed in the Al-Seyeda Zeynab, Al-Qosair, Homs and areas adjacent to the Damascus International Airport. In addition to Hezbollah units, the Iranian regime has dispatched units of the Kata’ib Imam Ali militias of Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi to fight alongside Assad’s forces.
Tehran also uses Al-Nojaba, Seyed al-Shohada and Harekat al-Abdal militia group units, all linked to Iran’s regime and under the command of IRGC Quds Force. Reports indicate their numbers reach around 1,500.
Members of the Abolfaz al-Abbas Brigade, numbering at 7,000, and the Imam Hossein Brigade, estimated at around 1,000, are the large militia groups stationed in Syria.
Despite the expansion of Sunni Islam among Afghans, the Iranian regime is investing in Afghanistan as new grounds to exports its reactionism through Pakistani Shiites.
This objective is pursued through the establishment of the Fatemiyoun Brigade, consisting of Afghan Shite militias, in 2014 by an individual named Reza Tavasoli, aka Abu Hamed, with the objective of supporting the Assad regime in Syria.
This group is trained and funded by the IRGC and reports indicate each Afghan militia member receives $500 per month from the Iranian regime. The Fatemiyoun Brigade numbers at around 3,000 members while Iranian regime sources claim they have reached 14,000 members.
Similar to Afghanistan, the Iranian regime launched the Zeynabioun Brigade in Pakistan, comprised of Pakistani Shiites. This group recruits its members from Pakistani Shiites living in Iran, al-Hazzareh Shiites living in Pakistan, Parachinar Shiites in northwest Pakistan and Khaybar Bakhtunkha in a Pakistani province.
The Zeynabioun Brigade was established and trained by the IRGC and carries out orders coming from this entity.