Every resistance group emerging in the region is a “thorn in the eye” of the United States and Israel and the future of the Middle East belongs to Iran and its regional allies, Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri, the deputy chief of staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, said today. The Iranian military official made the remarks in reaction to a US congressional bill that seeks to blacklist Harakat al-Nujaba, an Iranian-sponsored Iraqi militia group that fights in both Iraq and Syria and increasingly threatens the US and Israel recently. “The future belongs to the Islamic Nujaba movement and other Nujabas, because America is in decline and the power of the Zionists [Israel] is collapsing. Therefore, the future of this region belongs to us and we should shape it,” Jazayeri stressed. He also emphasized that Iran and its “resistance” allies have learned how to successfully defy foreign pressures and sanctions.

Comment: On November 3, a bill was introduced the US House of Representatives, entitled “Iranian Proxies Terrorist Sanctions Act of 2017,” which sought to impose terrorism-related sanctions with respect to Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq and Harakat al-Nujaba – both of which are part of Iraq’s Mobilization Forces (PMF) and also fight in neighboring Syria under the leadership of Iranian Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani.

Following the introduction of the bill, both groups threatened violence against the United States in Iraq and the broader region.

In an interview with the Lebanese al-Mayadeen TV on December 1, Akram al-Kaabi, the leader of the Nujaba movement, said the US congressional bill “is an indication they [US] fear us.” He continued: “If the Americans intend to reoccupy Iraq, we will fight them again. And if they commit a stupid mistake in Syria or Iraq against the Nujaba and resistance forces, we will deal a crushing blow to them and will target all their interests in the region. If the Syrian and Iraqi governments decide to confront America, we will proudly stand by their side.”

The US bill has also received a great deal of attention inside Iran. On December 1, Iran’s Office for Strengthening Unity, a large union of university students, condemned the congressional bill during the Friday prayer in Tehran. “Nujaba will now act with more determination than in the past to pursue the supreme aspirations of the Islamic community. As the young and triumphant leader of this movement, Sheikh Akram al-Kaabi, announced, this movement is ready to fight the murderous and baby-killer Zionist regime in the occupied Golan. Today, Nujaba is alongside Hashd al-Shaabi [P.M.F.], Hezbollah, Ansarullah [Houthi rebels in Yemen], Hamas, Islamic Jihad and... The day will come when all movements of the resistance axis will hold the Friday prayer in the occupied Quds. That day will be soon,” the statement said.

Nujaba commanders engaged in acts of violence against the US military prior to 2011. And last year, the group announced the creation of a new brigade to seize the Golan Heights – claiming that “latest victories” against the Islamic State and Sunni rebels in Iraq and Syria have allowed the group and its allies to focus on Israel.