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September 11, 2017

Iranian Proxy Threatens U.S. Troops, Media M.I.A.—Again

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani


Iranian-backed proxies in Iraq have “vowed to start killing Americans again once the Islamic State is expelled,” The Washington Times has reported (“Ruthless Iranian militia vows to turn against U.S. troops once Islamic State is defeated in Iraq,” Sept. 7, 2017). However, many major U.S. news outlets have failed to cover this story.

Jafar al-Hosseini, a spokesman for Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH), told Iran’s Fars News Agency that the U.S. must leave Iraq or be confronted with a new war. Washington Times correspondent Rowan Scarbarough observed that al-Hosseini’s “scripted messages on Beirut’s al-Mayadeen Arab-language TV station suggest” that Kata’ib Hezbollah “is not bluffing.”

Scarbarough detailed that the group has about 5,000 operatives and was organized in 2007 by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, which trained them in the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other tactics. IEDs were used to kill approximately 500 U.S. personnel.

KH was designated a terrorist organization in 2009 by the U.S. State Department, which noted:

“KH has ideological ties to Lebanese [Hezbollah] and may have received support from that group. KH gained notoriety in 2007 with attacks on U.S. and coalition forces designed to undermine the establishment of a democratic, viable Iraqi state. KH has been responsible for numerous violent terrorist attacks since 2007, including improvised explosive device bombings, rocket propelled grenade attacks and sniper operations. In addition, KH has threatened the lives of Iraqi politicians and civilians that support the legitimate political process in Iraq.”

Iran uses proxies, many of them Quds Force-trained, in Tehran’s quest for regional domination. As Scarbarough pointed out, the U.S. presence in Iraq stands in the way of the mullah’s desire to turn Iraq into a vassal state.

Many Iranian-backed militias, also known as Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) have strong ties to, or even already hold positions in, the Iraqi Government. Indeed, as the Middle East analyst Ali Khedery noted on Twitter, KH operative Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis—a U.S.-designated terrorist—has been photographed chairing a meeting of Iraqi generals.

Jafar al-Hosseini’s exhortations are but the most recent threats against the U.S. by Iranian-supported groups. As CAMERA highlighted, in April 2015, PMUs threatened to target “the American interests in Iraq—even abroad,” if the U.S. House Armed Services Committee voted to arm Kurdish Peshmerga forces (“Where’s the Coverage? Iran Threatens U.S. Troops,” Dec. 11, 2015). Al-Hosseini issued a similar sort of threat against U.S. troops in March 2017, Scarbarough noted.

Yet, the media has routinely failed to cover either the atrocities committed by PMU’s or their threats against U.S. forces, as CAMERA detailed in a Sept. 16, 2016 report (“The Washington Times Covers Underreported Iran-Backed Shi’ite Militias”).

Michael Pregent, an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, and a former intelligence adviser to U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus (ret.) told CAMERA that some news outlets don't know who many of the militias are. Further, the coverage that does occur often obfuscates the reality of what is happening in Iraq. For example, he noted that it's common to hear media reporting “Iraqi security forces retook an area today,” but omit that, in fact, those forces often are PMUs—some of which are led by U.S.-designated terrorists like al-Muhandis.

KH’s most recent threats went unreported by USA Today, The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post, and other major U.S. news outlets.

Posted by SD at September 11, 2017 10:59 AM

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