The United States labeled the chief of staff of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units a designated global terrorist Wednesday in the outgoing Trump administration’s latest attempt to isolate Iran’s foreign proxies before leaving office.
Abdul Aziz al-Muhammadawi, also known as Abu Fadak, serves as the deputy head of the PMU. The organization officially lies under the authority of the federal government in Baghdad; however, many of the PMU militias receive support from Iran and have ties to the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Abu Fadak is one of them, the US State Department said Wednesday. The influential Shiite official was once secretary-general of Kataib Hezbollah, which the United States designated a terrorist organization in 2009.
The influential Shiite militia conducted ambushes on American forces during the US occupation of Iraq and has claimed a number of other violent attacks since. Washington says the group was key to violently suppressing pro-democracy protests across Iraq last year 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 “support Iran’s malign activities, including the defense of the Assad regime in Syria.