US labels deputy head of Iraq’s PMU a terrorist

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Jan 13, 2021

The United States labeled the chief of workers of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units a delegated international terrorist Wednesday within the outgoing Trump administration’s newest try to isolate Iran’s international proxies earlier than leaving workplace.

Abdul Aziz al-Muhammadawi, often known as Abu Fadak, serves because the deputy head of the PMU. The group formally lies below the authority of the federal authorities in Baghdad; nevertheless, most of the PMU militias obtain assist from Iran and have ties to the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Abu Fadak is considered one of them, the US State Department stated Wednesday. The influential Shiite official was as soon as secretary-general of Kataib Hezbollah, which the United States designated a terrorist group in 2009.

The influential Shiite militia carried out ambushes on American forces throughout the US occupation of Iraq and has claimed a variety of different violent assaults since. Washington says the group was key to violently suppressing pro-democracy protests throughout Iraq final yr and does the bidding of Iran.

The State Department accused Abu Fadak on Wednesday of working with the Quds Force to “reshape official Iraqi state security institutions” to “assist Iran’s malign actions, together with the protection of the Assad regime in Syria.

The division additionally accused him of involvement in “abductions of hundreds of men” in areas liberated from the Islamic State (IS). “These individuals remain missing to this day,” the State Department assertion learn.

In a separate assertion Wednesday, the US Treasury Department appeared to accuse Abu Fadak of hyperlinks with IS. A spokesperson for the Treasury didn’t instantly return Al-Monitor’s request for remark.

The United States additionally unveiled sanctions Wednesday on two monetary organizations it stated had been managed by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: the Astan Quds Razavi and Execution of Imam Kohmeini’s Order. The State Department stated the ostensibly charitable organizations management main swaths of the Iranian financial system.

Earlier this week the Trump administration sanctioned the chairman of Iraq’s PMU, Faleh al-Fayadh, below an addendum to the Global Magnitsky Act, which permits the United States to sanction international figures primarily based on allegations of human rights abuses.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin accused Fayadh of “directing and supervising the murder of peaceful Iraqi demonstrators” and “waging a violent campaign against Iraqi democracy and civil society.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi ousted Fayadh as Iraq’s nationwide safety adviser final yr.

The Trump administration assassinated former Quds Force commander Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani in a Baghdad drone strike in January 2020. Also killed was Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy PMU chief whom Abu Fadak has succeeded.