Iraq’s Asaib Ahl al-Haq are a Shiite faction that used to a be unit in the Mahdi Army, the armed group formed by influential cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
The Asaib broke off from the Mahdi Army after the battle of al-Najaf. It would eventually become an independent faction in 2007.
It was formally established in 2011 by Iran-backed Qais al-Khazali, a former prominent leader in the Mahdi Army. Khazali was in the past arrested by American forces on charges of carrying out attacks against the multinational forces in Iraq during the US occupation.
He was also charged with attacking the Karbala province in 2007, leaving an American soldier dead.
In 2011, Khazali formally declared the formation of the Asaib as an independent armed faction.
In 2014, the faction would later win seats at parliament after Khazali announced the formation of the Sadiqoun bloc.
As part of the Shiite Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), the Asaib took part in the battles to liberate Iraq from ISIS. Many Sunnis joined the Asaib in those battles, notably in the Salaheddine province.
The United States would eventually place Khazali on its list of sanctions.