Middle east

After Being Designated as a Terrorist Organization, What is the Ansar Allah al-Awfiya Movement in Iraq?

Since October 7 and the beginning of the war in the Gaza Strip, the region has been engulfed by numerous attacks on American forces, particularly in Iraq and Syria. These events have led the United States to strongly oppose terrorist militias and condemn Iran’s support for Iraqi militias.


Recently, the United States designated the Ansar Allah al-Awfiya movement in Iraq as a terrorist organization, raising questions about the nature and connections of this movement, especially given its systematic operations against American forces stationed in Iraq, whose main role was to rid Iraq of ISIS.

The US Department of State designated the movement and its Secretary-General, Haider Mazhar Malik al-Saidi, as global terrorists.

What Do We Know About the Ansar Allah al-Awfiya Movement?

The Ansar Allah al-Awfiya movement is originally an Iraqi militia supported by Iran, part of what is known as the Islamic Resistance in Iraq.

It is a second-level faction as an armed group and Iraqi governmental organization. The militia conducts military operations against American targets and the “Syrian Democratic Forces,” as well as paramilitary operations and local moderate operations against targets in political and social spheres, including violent repression of human rights and freedom of expression of Iraqis.

The terrorist militia includes many groups and militias allied with Iran, which Washington classifies as terrorist organizations, including Kata’ib Hezbollah, Harakat al-Nujaba, and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada. The “Washington Institute” commented on the movement, saying: “This faction, a splinter from the Sadrist movement, is one of the main Iraqi proxies of the Iranian Quds Force, guarding the Syrian borders for a long time and killing Iraqi protesters to show its loyalty.”

The “Islamic Resistance in Iraq” has repeatedly attacked coalition forces in Iraq and Syria, claiming responsibility for dozens of attacks, including a drone attack in January that killed three US soldiers in Jordan.

The Ansar Allah al-Awfiya movement was involved in that attack. Additionally, it has publicly threatened to continue attacking American interests in the region, according to the US State Department.

Haider Mazhar Malik al-Saidi, also known as Haider al-Gharawi, is the Secretary-General of the movement. The “Islamic Resistance in Iraq” includes other members such as Kata’ib Hezbollah – classified as a terrorist organization in July 2009, Harakat al-Nujaba – classified as a terrorist organization in March 2019, and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada – classified as a terrorist organization in November 2023.

Notable attacks against American individuals and military installations in Iraq and Syria include:

  • January 28, 2024: A drone attack involving the movement, killing three US service members in Jordan.
  • January 20, 2024: A ballistic missile and rocket attack targeting Ain al-Asad airbase.
  • December 8, 2023: A missile attack on Conoco base in northeastern Syria.
  • October 23, 2023: Drone attacks on US bases in the Al-Omar oil field and Al-Shaddadi in Syria.

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