The Shi’a militia thought to be sponsored by Iran and known as the League of the Righteous (Asaib al Haq) is allegedly the number one suspect for the kidnapping of three US contractors in Baghdad, Iraq, according to US military and Intelligence sources via The Long War Journal.
- The Long War Journal article (22 Jan 2016) – US officials ‘strongly suspect’ Iranian-backed militia of kidnapping 3 Americans in Baghdad:
A military spokesman for the militia however allegedly released a statement denying the group was involved in the kidnapping and was issued on the official Popular Mobilisation Force website.
Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi said an organised criminal gang was responsible for the kidnapping
It is worth remembering that many of the Shi’a militia groups involved in the Popular Mobilisation Forces, thought to be supported by Iran, were also lauded by the US in recent months and the same groups that fought US forces after the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq.
Shi’a militias have made notable gains against the fundamentalist Sunni group IS over the last year in Iraq and according to numerous reports, were influential in stopping the IS advance towards Baghdad in 2014. They were also reportedly influential in the defence of Iraq’s Kurdistan region, both with the help and organisation of Iran’s Qods Force under the command of Major General Qassem Soleimani.
Soleimani has subsequently shown up in Syria on multiple occasions, supporting fundamentalist Shi’a militias such as Harakat al Nujaba or the Nujaba Movement fighting on the side of the Assad government.