Mar. 19, 2019
- Iran-Backed Militias Step Up the Battle in Iraq – Jonathan Spyer
Iran-backed Shiite militias in Iraq are operating with increasing impunity. On Feb. 3, Shiite militiamen murdered Iraqi novelist Alaa Mashzoub, a chronicler of Iraq’s lost Jewish community, who was a bold critic of Iran’s increasing power in Iraq. A few days later, Aws al-Khafaji, a powerful Shiite militia leader and Mashzoub’s kinsman, who appeared on TV and denounced Iranian interference in Iraq, was captured by Shiite militias of the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Units and has not been seen since.
The same week, Iraqi Shiite militiamen challenged a U.S. Army foot patrol in eastern Mosul. Ja’afar Husseini, spokesman of Kataib Hezbollah, one of the most powerful Shiite militias, warned that clashes between the Iran-allied fighters and the U.S. “may start at any moment.” The writer is director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis. (Wall Street Journal)