A travel warning for Iraq, updated by the State Department on Monday, continues to warn that “anti-U.S.” Shi’ite militias “may present a threat to U.S. citizens,” naming two groups that are playing a leading role in supporting the Iraqi government’s military campaign against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL).
The two Iran-backed groups, Kata’ib Hezbollah and Asaib al-Haq (“League of the Righteous”), are at the heart of the Popular Mobilization Forces, set up last year to help Iraq’s Shi’ite-led government fight the Sunni jihadists of ISIS.
Although those groups and U.S. armed forces are both supporting Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s anti-ISIS mission, the State Department travel warning makes it clear the U.S. government still views the militias as dangerous and potentially hostile. References to the two first appeared in a travel warning issued at the end of April.
The travel warning describes the two as “anti-U.S. sectarian militia groups,” and says they “are operating throughout Iraq and may present a threat to U.S. citizens.”