Snapshot from video of Gen Jabbar being kidnapped in Baghdad (Iraq Newspaper)
Asaib Ahl Al-Haq has been blamed for another brazen attack. On November 13 video was posted on social media of an Interior Ministry General Abdul Jabbar having his vehicle surrounded by three SUVs in the Jadriya district of Baghdad. Men jumped out of the SUVs, took the general out of his vehicle and took him away. He has not been seen since. Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi said that the general should be released immediately. Asaib Ahl Al-Haq is known for attacking Americans, the Mahdi Army, Sunnis, and the Iraqi forces but this was the first time it kidnapped a general in broad daylight for everyone to see. It was a sign of just how emboldened the group feels that it would carry out such an operation.
General Jabbar is the dean of the Interior Ministry’s Institute for Security and Administrative Development, and reportedly got into an argument with Asaib Ahl Al-Haq. The group demanded that it be given positions within the Institute. General Jabbar refused saying that would be illegal and the people the group submitted were not qualified. Al Hurra reported that in retaliation Asaib Ahl Al-Haq kidnapped the general.
Asaib Ahl Al-Haq was originally a breakaway faction of the Sadr movement. It received arms, training, and funding from Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. During the U.S. occupation it was used to carry out attacks upon the Americans, and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki tried to use it to cut into Moqtada al-Sadr’s base. When the Syrian war started it was employed by Iran to support the Assad regime. In 2014 it became part of the Hashd and was infamous for carrying out sectarian attacks upon Sunnis. It used its standing in the war against the Islamic State to run in the last parliamentary election where it won seats in the legislature. According to Al Hurra the group demanded that it be given positions in the Institute for Security because it held seats in parliament. This is what Iraq’s political parties expect when they win office. That’s to be given various positions in the government as part of a spoils system, which also explains why the government is so dysfunctional. Asaib Ahl Al-Haq has never been able to gain anywhere near the popular support it hoped for. At the same time, it has increased in power since its emergence with the help of both Iran and elements of the Iraqi elite such as former Premier Maliki. It’s because of this increased standing that it believed that it could snatch an Iraqi general with impunity.
Al Hurra, “An Interior Ministry source reveals who abducted Major General Abdul Jabbar,” 11/15/19
Iraq Newspaper, “How Major General,” 11/13/19