Iraq Rejects Violation of Jordan’s Sovereignty in Wake of Kataib Hezbollah Threats

Protesters clash with security forces in front of the Israeli embassy in Amman in October 2023. (AFP)
Protesters clash with security forces in front of the Israeli embassy in Amman in October 2023. (AFP)
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Iraq Rejects Violation of Jordan’s Sovereignty in Wake of Kataib Hezbollah Threats

Protesters clash with security forces in front of the Israeli embassy in Amman in October 2023. (AFP)
Protesters clash with security forces in front of the Israeli embassy in Amman in October 2023. (AFP)

The pro-Iran Kataib Hezbollah faction in Iraq “vowed to supply Jordanian fighters with weapons” to defend “our brothers in Palestine.”

A security official from the faction known as Abu Ali al-Askari said: “The ‘Islamic Resistance in Iraq’ is ready to meet the needs of 12,000 fighters ... so that we can stand united in defending our brothers in Palestine.”

He said the group could provide the fighters with “light and medium weapons, tactical rockets, millions of rounds of ammunition and tons of explosives.”

His announcement coincided with the return of protests in condemnation of the Israeli war on Gaza in front of the Israeli embassy in the Jordanian capital, Amman.

More and more protesters have been gathering in front of the mission. They appear to be better organized and have made more demands in spite of Jordan’s intense diplomatic efforts to reach an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and deliver aid to the people.

The demonstrators have also been demanding that the “land bridge” that provides Israel with goods and vegetables be halted

Al-Askari said the fighters would be ready to stop the bridge. The government has said it remains open given contractual obligations between Jordanian businesses and Israel.

Amman has continued its diplomatic efforts to end the war. On Monday, King Abdullah II received Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The leaders underlined the need for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

No sign of threat

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry did not comment on the escalation by the Kataib Hezbollah.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani is meanwhile, preparing to carry out a major visit to the United States where he will meet with President Joe Biden.

An Iraqi security official dismissed Kataib Hezbollah’s announcement. In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, he said: “The situation in Iraq doesn’t allow for the armament of groups outside the country for the purpose of carrying out ‘suspicious’ activity.”

“Iraq will not allow the violation of the sovereignty of a brotherly neighbor,” he added on condition of anonymity.

Moreover, he said there were “no indications on the ground” that arms could be delivered to fighters in Jordan. Furthermore, he stated there was no intelligence information to that end, whether from Iraq or regional and international powers.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein also cast doubt on the statements of the armed groups about attacking targets in Israel.

During a recent visit to Washington, he said the use of weapons requires an order from the commander of the armed forces. “No one can take a unilateral decision to wage war on any side,” he added.

The decision to go to war is taken strictly by the parliament, he stressed.

Media theatrics

In Jordan, security agencies dismissed Kataib Hezbollah’s announcement as “media theatrics solely aimed at stoking tensions in the region.”

A Jordanian government source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the country has thwarted in recent months “several attempts and plots by armed groups that are active along the border with Iraq.”

The Jordanian army has bolstered its defense capabilities in recent years “to confront the threats posed by Iraq’s proxies along the northern border with Syria and eastern one with Iraq.”

It revealed that since October 7, pro-Iran Iraqi militias have sought to infiltrate the Jordanian border with the aim of marching towards the Palestinian territories. The Jordanian army has thwarted several of these attempts.

Amman accuses Tehran of seeking to threaten Jordan’s security through its proxies in neighboring countries.

Local security sources have said that the protests in front of the Israeli embassy in Amman are sponsored by Iran, managed by Hamas and carried out by its wings in the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Violation of sovereignty

Head of the Center for Political Thinking in Iraq Ihssan Shmary told Asharq Al-Awsat that Kataib Hezbollah’s announcement is part of a campaign to pressure US allies in the region.

The armed groups are “directly interfering in the affairs of an independent neighboring country,” he continued, noting that the announcement was made as Jordan is already dealing with the protests, which may mean these two developments may be tied to attempts to “unify arenas claimed by the resistance.”

He dismissed the possibility of Kataib Hezbollah delivering weapons to Jordan, saying such a move would be a violation of international laws and may affect relations between it and Iraq.

He predicted that the threats would only encourage Jordan and Iraq to tighten security along their border.

Eilat attack

Meanwhile, the “Islamic Resistance in Iraq” claimed on Tuesday responsibility for a drone attack on Israel’s Eilat naval base on the Red Sea.

In a statement, it vowed to continue its attacks against Israel in retaliation to its assault on the Palestinian people in Gaza.

A “suspicious aerial target” fell within Jordanian territory close to the border with Israel on Tuesday, the Israeli military said after local media reported the crash of a drone in an open area.

The port has come under repeated drone and missile attacks by Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi militias during the almost six-month-old Gaza war.

On Monday, the military said a building in an Eilat naval base had been struck by an object launched from the east of Israel - suggesting that the provenance was Iraq.



Yemen's Houthis Say to Escalate Military Operations in Support of Gaza

A Houthi military helicopter flies over a cargo ship in the Red Sea. (Reuters)
A Houthi military helicopter flies over a cargo ship in the Red Sea. (Reuters)
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Yemen's Houthis Say to Escalate Military Operations in Support of Gaza

A Houthi military helicopter flies over a cargo ship in the Red Sea. (Reuters)
A Houthi military helicopter flies over a cargo ship in the Red Sea. (Reuters)

Yemen's Houthis will continue their military operations and escalate them "in quality and quantity" in support of Palestinians in Israel's war in Gaza, the Iran-backed group's leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi said in a televised speech on Thursday, Reuters reported.

The group have been attacking ships in the Red Sea region since November, forcing shippers to re-route cargo to longer and more expensive journeys around southern Africa.

The group later expanded the scope of its attacks to the Indian Ocean and said it would also target any ships heading towards Israeli ports in the Mediterranean Sea.