Hizballah Cavalcade: Roundup of Iraqis Killed in Syria, Part 1

NOTE: For prior parts in the Hizballah Cavalcade series you can view an archive of it all here.

By Phillip Smyth
Reports of Iraqi Shia involvement in the Syrian Civil War surged from January-May, 2013.[1] In March, the first photos and bios of Iraqi Shia killed during the fighting were released. Many of these announcements, photos of those killed, and other information received much broader coverage after it was spread on forums and Facebook pages. Thus far, the only two Iraqi groups to have announced they have lost members have been Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (League of the Righteous) and Kata’ib Hizballah (Hizballah Brigades).
It should be mentioned that Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq has not announced on its official webpage that it has had any “Martyrs” in recent months. Nevertheless, the group has set-up funeral processions for its dead in major Iraqi cities. In sharp contrast to Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq’s lacking web announcements; Kata’ib Hizballah updates its webpage regularly and in a more detailed fashion, regarding the fate of its members who have been killed and their funerals. Both Kata’ib Hizballah and Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, like their Lebanese counterpart, Hizballah, do not mention where these fighters were killed. Regardless, on most forums and Facebook pages, those who post comments are generally aware that the two groups are actively involved in fighting in Syria.

Created during the height of Coalition operations during the Iraq War, together, Kata’ib Hizballah and Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq have received extensive assistance from Lebanese Hizballah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp.[2] Both Iraqi groups are also major supporters of Iranian Revolutionary Islamist ideology (Wilayat al-Faqih).[3] Thus, it is extremely likely both organizations are acting as proxy forces for Iran.

Name: Sa’ad Abed al-Qadr Abu Shamia’
Affiliated With: Kata’ib Hizballah
Death Announced: March 17, 2013
Name: Ahmed Mahdi al-Shuweili (A.K.A. Qassim Abu Mahdi)
Affiliated With: Kata’ib Hizballah
Death Announced: March 15, 2013
Name: Arfad Muhsein Al-Hamidawi (A.K.A. Abu Karar)
Affiliated With: Kata’ib Hizballah
Death Announced: April 2, 2013
Name: Karar Abed al-Amir Fatlawi Abu Assad (A.K.A. Karar Fatlawi and Karar Abed al-Amir Aziz Abu Assad)
Affiliated With: Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq and Liwa’a Abu Fadl al-Abbas
Death Announced: Early April, 2013.
Facebook Page: https://ar-ar.facebook.com/pages/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B4%D9%87%D9%8A%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%87%D8%AF-%D9%83%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%B9%D8%A8%D8%AF-%D8%A3%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%B1-%D8%A3%D8%A8%D9%88-%D8%A3%D8%B3%D8%AF/472898662780073
Note: Karar has one of the best developed narratives of any of the Iraqis killed. His story comes complete with numerous photos, a Facebook page, and supposed videos of him engaged in fighting. It is also important to note that he is the only one to have significant acceptance from supporters that he was a part of both Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq and the Syria-based (members mainly come from Iraq and Lebanon) Liwa’a Abu Fadl al-Abbas.
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Name: Ahmed Farhud Hashim al-Zerjawi (A.K.A. Ahmed Farhud Hashim)
Affiliated With: Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq
Death Announced: May 2, 2013 (for funeral held in Najaf, Iraq)
Note: Iran’s Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is pictured on the left and Iraqi cleric Grand Ayatollah Muhammed Sadiq al-Sadr is pictured on the right.
 Name: Yahiya Sarmad Muhammed al-Fayli (A.K.A. Yahiya al-Fayli and Asu)
Affiliated With: Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq
Death Announced: Early May, 2013 (most forums list between May, 5-May,7)
Note: Iran’s Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is pictured on the right and Iraqi cleric Grand Ayatollah Muhammed Sadiq al-Sadr is pictured on the left.

[1] One example: Mariam Karouny, “Shi’ite fighters rally to defend Damascus shrine”, Reuters, March 3, 2013, https://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/03/us-syria-crisis-shiites-idUSBRE92202X20130303.
[2] Elizabeth O’Bagy and Stephen Wicken , “Fact Sheet: Ali Musa Daqduq”, Institute For the Study of War, May 14, 2012, https://www.understandingwar.org/reference/fact-sheet-ali-mussa-daqduq. See also: Thomas Strouse, “Kata’ib Hezbollah and the Intricate Web of Iranian Military Involvement in Iraq”, Jamestown Foundation, Terrorism Monitor Volume: 8 Issue: 9, March 4, 2010, https://www.jamestown.org/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=36109.
[3] [Absolute] Wilayat al-Faqih (also known by in Persian as “Velayat-e-Faqih) is an ideological concept first drawn up by Iran’s late Supreme Leader, Grand Ayatollah Khomeini. Khomeini posited that only learned clerics could rule over society and make political decisions. This was an extremely radical departure from the more traditional schools of Shi’ism. As a result, those currently following this ideology are religiously bound to follow the rulings of the Wali al-Faqih, who is currently Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. See also: Sam Wyer, The Resurgence of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, Institute for the Study of War, Middle East Security Report 7,December, 2012, https://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/ResurgenceofAAH.pdf.