WASHINGTON (Dispatches) -- The U.S. State Department has imposed a new round of sanctions on resistance groups in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.
In a notice issued Monday, the department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation said the restrictive measures target Iraq’s Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq and Kata’ib Hezbollah, which are both subdivisions of Hashd al-Sha’abi, along with the Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement.
The sanctions were imposed under the so-called Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA), which bans arms transfer to those targeted.
The ban forbids U.S. government departments, agencies and personnel from signing contracts with or from providing licenses or government assistance to the targeted groups and organizations.
The announcement came after Iraqi resistance groups, including Kata’ib Hezbollah, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq and Al-Nujaba, declared their readiness on Friday to stand by Lebanon’s Hezbollah in any case of a possible confrontation with the occupying Israeli regime.
Hezbollah hit “open fields” near Israeli positions near the Lebanese border on Friday, using “dozens” of 122mm caliber rockets in response to the occupying regime’s airstrikes in southern Lebanon. Al-Mayadeen said at least 20 rockets were fired at Israel’s military positions.
Saad al-Saadi, a member of the Asa’ib politburo, said Monday the new sanctions show that the U.S. sees the resistance factions as a “stumbling block” to the Zionist-American projects in Iraq.
“This indicates that we have achieved the results that the Iraqi people want and thwarted these projects that were and still remain the cause of all the crises that the country is going through on the economic, political, and security levels,” he told Iraq’s Shafaq news agency.
“We, the sons of resistance and national movements representing the Iraqi people, consider these sanctions as a source of pride and dignity for the Iraqi people…These sanctions only increase our resolve and steadfastness in adhering to our principles and values and the project of resisting the occupation and the illegal foreign presence in Iraq,” he added.
The leader of the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq resistance group also raised alarm over Israeli plots for the Arab country, saying Iraq’s resistance groups reserve the right and are prepared to respond to any act of aggression by the regime.
“Israeli attacks have killed several young Iraqi resistance fighters. We, therefore, reserve the right to answer back. The blood of our martyrs killed at the hands of the Zionist regime’s mercenaries will not be forgotten,” Qais al-Khazali said in an interview with Iraq’s Al-Ahad television Monday.
“The hostility of the Israeli regime is continuing, and it is responsible for the destruction of Iraq. There are documents and confessions that show Israeli agents were seeking the disbandment of the Iraqi army.”
Khazali said Iraqi resistance groups are part of the “equation of deterrence” set out by Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.
He said the occupying regime of Israel will not stop targeting Iraq due to its Zionist ideology, and that Tel Aviv considers the Arab country as a major enemy and threat.
Back in August 2019, an Iraqi legislator said evidence pointed to the involvement of the Zionist regime in an attack on Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters, stating that Tel Aviv was seeking to weaken the force.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Khazali warned of conspiracies by certain embassies as well as assassination bids targeting tribal leaders and civil activists in the runup to Iraq’s parliamentary elections, scheduled for October 10.
“Attempts are underway to plunge the Iraqi province of Maysan
into chaos just like Dhi Qar province. Israel is carrying out a spate of assassinations in southern Iraq through its Iraqi agents,” Khazali said.
Khazali also warned that credible information indicates that a conspiracy targeting civil society activists has been hatched, and the plotters aim to lay the blame at the door of resistance groups.
Key figures of Iraqi resistance groups would also be targeted to throw the country into great turmoil, the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq leader pointed out.
“We warn civil activists not to trust staffers of Western embassies as they would simply victimize them to achieve their goals. They are actually intelligence agents operating under the guise of diplomats to justify their activities. We also warn Iraqi resistance fighters to be cautious and exercise vigilance,” he said.