A defector from the Badr Organization in Iraq details its operations and his story
Through an interview we obtained exclusive information about the Badr Organization from an insider who played a role in one of its forces. It is particularly interesting given the increasing role of the Popular Mobilization Units in Iraq and amid the protests this year. Badr has played a key role in the fight against ISIS and also in the Interior Ministry and in politics through the Fatah Alliance and Badr leader Hadi al-Amiri.
Name: Adil Hussain. Age: 26
Unit of Service: Badr Organization, district of Tuz Khurmato
Period of Service: (Feb 2014 ---- end of 2016)
Role: Information Officer Badr’s 1st Regiment in Tuz Khurmato, part of the Turkmen Force of the 16th Brigade.
Interview, December 2019
The role of the Badr Organization in the district of Tuz Khurmato was initially to defend the people of the district from the aggression of ISIS. But, after the liberation of Amerli, a situation emerged in which the organization became more concerned with advancing its own interests than in serving the people.
Badr controlled all areas of Amerli after the liberation from ISIS, and they were able to impose their influence on the area. Kidnapping of wealthy residents of the town in order to extort money from them, and assassinations of political opponents began. The chief of the assassination squads Qais Al-Najar, is the brother of the official leader of Badr in Tuz Khurmato - Atef al-Najjar. He is married to the daughter of the Badr Organization leader Mohammed Mahdi al-Bayati, who was Minister of Human Rights in the cabinet of former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
At the time, Mohammed Mahdi al-Bayati was placed under house arrest and prevented from engaging in political activity, as part of reforms carried out by Haider al-Abadi. Badr at this time began abducting citizens under the pretext that they belonged to ISIS. Badr operatives during these operations took care to avoid any signs of their affiliation with the organization. Al-Bayati was responsible and in command of these operations.
He was responsible, in direct association with Revolutionary Guards commander Haji Ali Iqbal Pour, who is the right arm of Qasim Soleimani in Iraq.
A major figure active in the Badr Organization in the district of Tuz Khormato at this time, especially in the area of funding is a man called Ali Khododost.
Khododost is a wealthy trader, and is resident in Kurdistan. He is publicly known for his trading in wheat and barley. But at this time he was also bringing quantities of narcotic pills to the Badr Organization and large quantities of crystal which were distributed to people whose task is to distribute the grain and sell it to young people. He threatened assassination and imprisonment and torture to these people to ensure their silence, threatening also their families.
Ali Khodadost was moving in Iraq from Baghdad to Kurdistan and was able to cross checkpoints both ways because of his associations with Badr signed by Mohammed Mehdi al-Bayati, and also with the PUK. An operative named Mohammed Rashid was assigned to him from the forces of Atef al-Najjar for his personal protection. Rashid was killed by Abu Fadl Abbas forces in the outskirts of Amerli after a quarrel between them and the forces of Atef al-Najjar.
The reason for the dispute with the forces of Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas was the division of the spoils in this region. The Badr Organization has controlled Sulayman Bek since its liberation. It is located on the road linking Baghdad and Kirkuk. Large quantities of materials for companies and merchants pass along the road. Badr began charging ‘taxes’ to those transporting goods along this road. The Badr organization imprisoned and assaulted many drivers who were not prepared to pay taxes to the forces that control the area.
The Badr organization in Suleiman Beik district blew up many houses on the pretext that they did not want the people to return to their residences on the pretext that these areas were governed by ISIS. Their target was to prevent anyone from returning to their residence. These instructions were given by Haj Ali Iqbal Pour, a senior official of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
The assassination squad was under the command of Qais al-Najja. It consisted of more than 15 individuals and their meetings were confidential. Its members were trained in Iran. They were trained on various sniper weapons and in skills related to military engineering and how to make explosive devices. They then began the production of explosive devices inside Badr Organization facilities in Tuz Khurmatu. They used these devices to blow up houses inside the district of Tuz Khurmato - the houses of those who opposed them and houses on the outskirts of the city from the villages that were suffering from ISIS and which were controlled by Badr.
All the training and courses in Iran were highly secretive and the duration of the courses ranged from one to two months. The training that was given included psychological warfare, information operations, sniper courses, the dismantling of IEDs and courses on religion and on Wilayat al-Faqih.
The demonstrations have affected the Badr Organization significantly, as many senior positions in the Iraqi government and administration are held by the Badr Organization. As a result, they have seen the severe diminishing of their formerly large popular base in the provinces of Iraq. In the district of Tuz Khurmato they held special sessions on how to attract young people, especially those with bachelor's and master's degrees, so as to return once again to form a popular base in these areas.
The Badr Organization and Iran believe that behind the demonstrators are a group of ‘mundisun’ (provocateurs) belonging to the Baath Party and they describe them as demagogues and allege that they are financed from other countries. All these allegations are made in order to conceal the fact that those who came out as demonstrators are Iraqis who wanted to overthrow a government that had been stealing from them since 2003. Iran has funded the militias work to enter the ranks of the demonstrators and assassinate doctors and demonstrators who have achieved prominence among the demonstrators. Among the militias operating in this way are Al-Khorasani Brigades, Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH), and Badr – their intention is to spread chaos and fear among the protestors.
As for the presence of members of the Badr Organization within the security forces, there are many members of the Badr Organization in the district of Tuz who work within the ministry of the Interior and as local police in the city. Many of them joined the Ministry of Interior and became employees when registration for the Ministry of Interior was announced.
Mohammed Salem al-Ghabban, who is considered one of the leaders of the Badr Organization in Iraq and was one of the leaders in the liberation of Amerli was chosen to be the Minister of the Interior. The Badr members within the Interior Ministry remain loyal to Badr. They combine their employment within the ministry or their membership in the security forces with their missions in favor of the Badr Organization.