Kata'ib Sayyid al-Suhada (KSS) (Iraq)

Country: Iraq
Details of Formation: Sources disagree on the exact circumstances of the group’s formation. Some sources mention say the group was founded in April 2013, while others mention May. Some sources allege that the KSS was formed by the Kata’ib Hezbollah and the Badr Organization aiming at recruiting more fighters, while other sources claim it was created by Abu Mustafa al-Sheibani and Falih Khazali after they broke away from Kata’ib Hezbollah (Stanford 2016).
Details of Termination: The group was still active in 2016 (Stanford 2016).
Purpose: The main purpose of the KSS is to support the Iraqi government in its fight against the Islamic State (IS). (Stanford 2016)
Organisation: The KSS is a member of the umbrella organization Popular Mobilization Forces (also coded as PGM). The KSS fights alongside the Iraqi Army, and is allied with the Iraqi government. As part of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), it receives funding and material aid from the Iraqi government; in part, this funding by the Iraqi government is provided by the United States. Through the PMF, the KSS is also linked to the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior. The KSS receives funding from the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. It is not clear who the leader of the KSS is. Sources disagree whether it is Abu Mustafa al-Sheibani, or whether Falah al-Khazali is the head of the KSS; the group itself did not clarify who their leader is. The KSS is not politically active but Falih Khazali is a member of the Iraqi parliament. (Stanford 2016)
Weapons and Training: The KSS had US-made tanks, machine guns, sniper rifles and Kalashnikov-type assault rifles. They likely received a M1-Abrams tank from the Iraqi government. It is alleged that the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps provides funding, material assistance and possibly training to the KSS. (Stanford 2016)
Size: --
Reason for Membership: --
Treatment of Civilians: There is no information on how the KSS behaved towards civilians (Stanford 2016).
Other Information: The KSS is also known as The Masters of the Martyrs Brigade. It is also active in Syria, where it is also coded as a PGM (cf. Sayyid al-Shuhada Brigades (Master of Martyrs) (Syria)). KSS is a Shiite militia that recognizes Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei as God’s representative on earth. It is closely aligned with Iran and is considered an Iranian proxy organization. Although the KSS indirectly received US support via the Iraqi government, it strongly opposes the US. The stated aim of the KSS is to protect Shiite shrines. (Stanford 2016)
References: Stanford Mapping Militant Organizations. 2016. “Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada.“ http://web.stanford.edu/group/mappingmilitants/cgi-bin/groups/view/629. Updated December 28, 2016.

Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD