Rabaa Allah: The Latest of God’s Representatives… So Far!
Rabaa Allah: The Latest of God’s Representatives… So Far!
The founding of religious parties is not new, neither in the Arab and Islamic worlds nor anywhere else. In the Arab world, the Muslim Brotherhood was the first of these parties to emerge in 1928. Then, various parties, like the “Hizb ut-Tahrir Alislami” (Islamic Liberation Party), “Al Jamaa Al Islamiyya” (Islamic Group) and “Ibbad al Rahman” (Worshipers of the Merciful) appeared in other Arab countries.
All of these parties avoided mentioning God’s name, though, naturally, they are familiar with the ayyah mentioned in the Quranic surah, Al-Ma’idah: “Behold, it is they, the partisans of God, who shall be victorious!” Even those who adopted one of the “Al Asma Ul Husna” (99 names of God in Islam), such as “al rahman” (the merciful), affirmed that they worship Him without claiming that they represent Him or that He is the leader of their party.
In Iran, immediately after the 1979 revolution, an organization called Hezbollah (the party of God) emerged. Its most prominent contribution was tightening the authorities’ grip, with quite a bit of raucous, on universities, students and books. After that, in 1995, another group called Ansar-e Hezbollah (Supporters of the Party of God) was established and became notorious for working for the police and other security apparatuses.
Between these two dates, in the early 1980s, the Lebanese Hezbollah was established in the Iranian embassy in Damascus. What happened next is very well-known. Then came Iraq’s turn. After Iran’s influence there grew, Kataib Hezbollah (Brigades of the Party of God) was established, and Yemen’s turn came too, with the establishment of Ansar Allah (Supporters of God). In any case, the word “supporters” is more modest comparatively.
The Iranians’ generous allocation of godly status is ongoing unimpeded then. Not so long ago, Iraq astounded us with a new name, “Rabaa Allah”- Rabaa could refer to a home, neighborhood, clan or companions. It is, in general, another faction that has associated itself with God, bearing in mind that God, of course, had not been consulted on the matter, just as He had not been consulted when He had been declared the leader of the Iranian and Lebanese parties.
One might say that far from indicating an association with God, these names are derived from jurisprudential traditions that have allowed for titles like “Ayatollah” in addition to his name “Rouhallah” (sign of God and spirit of God respectively). So we can have both of them combined, as had been the case with Ayatollah Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini; this might be a jurists’ right, and only other jurists can debate it with them.
Still, the misuse of God and his name goes very far with Rabaa Allah, which is believed to be run by Kataib Hezbollah, and all of them, at the end of the day, are part of the Popular Mobilization Forces. The PMF’s unequivocal denial that they know Rabaa Allah only strengthens suspicions.
Two reports, one by the German Deutsche Welle and another by BBC Arabic, as well as Iraqi sources, make it clear that the most significant actions taken by Rabaa Allah so have been the following:
- Targeting Hoshyar Zebari, a former foreign minister, and attempting to burn down the Baghdad headquarters of his Kurdistan Democratic Party after he criticized pro-Iranian factions.
- Attacking the US Embassy.
- Attacking Dijlah TV and setting it on fire after accusing it of having “insulted Islam.” The channel, by the way, defines itself like this: Dijlah TV relays the message of a wounded Iraq after sectarian rhetoric crushed all other messages, expanding and inflating until no room was left for those who want to tell the truth.
- Breaking into a hotel massage parlor in the Karrada neighborhood in Baghdad, assaulting the women who work there, breaking everything, chanting sectarian slogans, and breaking stores that sell alcoholic beverages.
- Raising economic demands, like the imposition of an exchange rate of the dollar regardless of the market, with threats of “cutting off ears” if their demands are not met.
- They reached their highest heights a few days ago, with a heavily armed parade in the streets of the capital accompanied by threats to Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and the defiling of his posters. The other person to be insulted and threatened with “his hand being cut off” if he thought of “merely interfering with the resistance” is Ahmed Abu Ragheef because, and this is key, he is tasked with curbing corruption.
How do these people operate?
They launch smear campaigns on social media against their target and then move toward the target in masks over their faces that reveal nothing but their eyes and lips, wearing black dress and a red headband, wielding batons, axes and sharp objects. However, during their big parades, they also drive the streets of Baghdad in large four-by-fours with their weapons and their slogan: “We have no fear or shame.”
They emphasize their “southerness” against other regions, especially the north. They particularly despise the October revolutionaries and resent the flexible independence project that is open to the Arabs and backed by the current prime minister, and they call security forces “Kadhimi’s militia.” On the other hand, many of the Iraqis who want to take their country back call them “Shiite ISIS,” and they don’t hide their disappointment with a blind eye being turned to the factions’ violations, as has been done by security apparatuses that the political authorities have so far been unable to control.
In other words, they are the men who do Iran’s dirtiest work in Iraq. Their major, central mission is preventing the rise of a state, perpetuating social decay, drilling sectarian and ethnic sentiments, and thwarting attempts at fighting corruption and improving Iraq’s ties with its Arab neighbors and the world. The further the homeland becomes from grasp and the more rotten society becomes, the more claims of having God on one’s side and being his exclusive representatives proliferate. This had become a Khomeini tradition.