Iraqi-US talk amidst Kateosha cells

Husham Al-Hashimi
19 june 2020
Former spokesman of the PMU, MP Ahmed Al-Asadi in a talk show with Dr. Nabeel Jasim stated that the Kateoysha cells are acting solemnly and they are unknown groups with no affiliation to the resistance factions.
IC and US interests in Iraq are facing repetitive attacks, specially the Katyosha attacks which have been significantly increased after the killing of multiple Iranian commanders back in January 2020. The fighting tactics of the Katyosha groups have a way of organizing and arming techniques that are similar to the 2007-2011 groups, like gangsters style. They depend on official security service., freedom of moving arms around, highly economic potentials, official documents, media expertise and former military experience based on trainings out of Iraq.
They have been trained to use the element of surprise with the possibility of working under small groups, as well as for coexistence among a harboring/servant environment.
Katyosha cells have new names which have not been enlisted with the rest of armed groups, they have became and embarrassment for the major Pro-Iranian factions and a threat to the lives of their leaders. Obviously, its not easy to control those cells and cant afford limited confrontation.
There 5 cells with unknown Human Resources and structure, they are affiliated with the Shiites resistance “as alleged on their official accounts on Facebook and Twitter” and Telegram and WhatsApp. Those groups are (Al-Tha’ireen League), (Ashab Al-Kahaf) , (Qabdhat Al-Huda), (Brigades of second 20’ revolution) and (Al-Tha’r’ Al-Mohandis). They have claimed, so far, 37 armed operations “all recorded officially by Government “ between January 6th 2020 till June 18th. These attacks targeted US and IC forces as well as for diplomatic missions.
These groups acted differently, they have revealed themselves in a way different from other armed groups, they dont have a spokesperson, a leader or even a historic background.
Its becoming clear that those cells wont stop targeting Washington’s interests in Iraq to drag the US to retaliation which would lead to public discontent against US existence in Iraq and to stop targeting other factions which are blaming the new cells “Al-Tha’ireen Elite” to drive attention away.
Iraqi intelligence know well who is behind these attacks, they specifically know a lot about “Al-Tha’ireen Elite”
The Katyosha cells helped PMU to get away from the consequences of targeting US in Iraq, also avoided more internal divisions among the PMU.
The official stance for the PMU and Government towards these attacks make the US want to exclude the option of military retaliation to avoid public discontent, the US might turn i o ghost operations attributed to unknown groups, for instance, drone attacks.
Katyusha cells have increased their attacks on the IZ, BIAP and Taji Camp, a clear defiance to the hard-hitting statement by the joint command which threatened those uncontrollable groups with prosecution, it is also a clear defiance to the intelligence cell formed by PM Kadhimi a day after the US-Iraq talks.
Recklessness of Katyusha cells is based on the following:
-The return of many Iraqi armed groups from Syria (specially doctrinal groups) after receding its role in supporting Damascus’s government, or because of lack of financial support from Iran especially after the events of Jan 3rd which has given opportunity to Shiites factions to thrive among the south and central Iraq by claiming vengeance.
-lack of control of central state and the weakness of political will in Baghdad to confront this unhidden rebellion with patience from IC to see the future of Kadhimi’s cabinet.
-The deteriorated economic situation, political and party conflicts and the spread of uncontrolled arms among groups for Islamists that has overcome the voice of moderate thinking. The same Islamists called for vengeance for Al-Mohandis and his companions and for violence to be the only solution.
-Faltering of Islamic parties solutions in Abdul-Mahdi’s government in the October protests, which led to support of violent acts under the name of “resistance gains” against human rights and democracy principles.
-The hesitance of the official government stance in security and legal actions against those cells, this helped the cells to go too far in their provocative operations.
-Expansion of the targeted areas by the cell. The trends have increased and became different in ideologies with more radical speech. They focused on Baghdad and threatened Iraqi forces working with US, NATO and IC forces.
The scenario of Katusha cells’ would definitely have negative impact on Kadhimi’s government, this situation will be much more complicated if these cells had Iranian or Lebanese commanders within. It will certainly have a negative impact on the political harmony among Shiites parties and factions that denounce the work of these cells, the outcome of this struggle could lead to direct armed clashes between them “especially if these cells were controlled externally “. Iraq’s share of damage will be the greatest and sources of conflicts will increase because of this rebellion.
When the foundations of the state are formed based on quotas, security forces will have a neglected role due to its ethnical, sectarian and political splits. Specially when the sectarian affiliations overcome the national affiliations.

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