BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:20 P.M.) – The U.S. designated on Friday the Iraqi paramilitary force, Asa’ib Ahl Al-Haq, and its leaders, Qays and Laith Al-Khazali, as foreign terrorists.
“Today, the Secretary of State announced his intent to designate Asa’ib Ahl Al-Haq – also known as AAH – as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Additionally, the Secretary has designated AAH and two of its leader, brothers Qays and Laith Al-Khazali, as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT) under section 1(a)(ii)(A) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended by E.O 13886,” the statement from the U.S. State Department began.
“AAH and its leader are violent proxies of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, adding that “acting on behalf of their masters in Tehran, they use violence and terror to further the Iranian regime’s efforts to undermine Iraqi sovereignty.”
“These designations seek to deny AAH and its leadership the resources to plan and carry out terrorist attacks. Among other consequences of designations, all of AAH and the Al-Khazali brothers’ property and interests that are within the United States or that come within the United States or that comes within the possession or control of U.S. persons, are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them. In addition, as a designated FTO, it is a federal crime to knowingly provide, or attempt or conspire to provide, material support or resources to AAH,” the State Department said.
AAH is a powerful faction within the Popular Mobilization Units (Hashd Al-Sha’abi), which played a major role in the defeat of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh) in Iraq.