In the latest sign that Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s true capital has put American lives at risk, Russia Today is reporting that Shia paramilitary group Harakat Hezbollah al Nujaba has declared that the US’s violation of the holy land status quo is a “legitimate reason” to attack American troops in Iraq.
“Trump's stupid decision… will be the big spark for removing this entity [Israel] from the body of the Islamic nation, and a legitimate reason to target American forces,” said Akram al-Kaabi, the Iraqi organization’s leader, as cited by Reuters.
Of course, militia leaders aren’t the only ones speaking out against Trump’s decision. Heads of state and other senior officials in the governments of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and – of course – the Palestinian territories have denounced the declaration. Meanwhile, the embassy’s impending move to Jerusalem will probably only further infuriate much of the Muslim world. One Palestinian official said Trump’s declaration has effectively precluded the possibility of a two-state solution.
The Israelis claim all of Jerusalem as their capital, while the Palestinians hope to make east Jerusalem the capital of a future Palestinian state.
According to the latest update from the US Defense Department, there are 5,200 US troops in Iraq, mostly special forces “advisers”. Officially, the Iraq War “ended” in December 2011, when the military pulled the last US ground troops out of the country.
Al Nujaba, a militia group mostly made up of Iraqis, has about 10,000 fighters, according to Reuters. Being a part of the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), the group is believed to be one of the most important militias in Iraq.
In November, Ted Poe from the US House of Representatives proposed imposing “terrorism-related sanctions” on Nujaba. The text of the document says Nujaba is “an affiliated faction” of the US-designated foreign terrorist organization Kata’ib Hezbollah, which also fights with the PMF.
And there's good reason to believe the group will follow through on its threats.
Nujaba’s leader Akram al-Kaabi was earlier sanctioned by the Treasury Department “for threatening the peace and stability of Iraq.” As a former insurgent, it’s believed Kaabi took part in “multiple mortar and rocket attacks” on the Green Zone in Baghdad in 2008.
Shortly before making his announcement, Trump acknowledged that the move would cause dissent, but he also insisted it would help solve the Arab-Israeli conflict.
A number of world powers, including Germany, Turkey, and Russia, expressed grave concern over the Trump administration’s decision.
US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital may become a “legitimate reason” to attack American troops in Iraq.