By Behnam Ben Taleblu
January 26, 2019
The Trump administration on Thursday took its first significant move against 2 of Iran’s non-Arab Shiite militias in Syria with two different executive orders — one related to human rights and the other to terrorism. Both groups, the Fatemiyoun and Zeynabiyoun, support Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force (IRGC-QF), which was sanctioned over a decade ago but remains active across the Middle East.
Why it matters
The U.S. Congress has attempted several times to get the administration to designate Iran-backed militias, whether in Iraq or Syria, as terrorists, given their ties to the IRGC-QF. The administration’s voluntary designation of the Fatemiyoun and Zeynabiyoun therefore represents a paradigm shift, adding Iran’s agents of influence to the U.S. Treasury’s financial blacklist and subjecting them to sanctions.