The name of the Azeri Husseiniyun militia has been repeated since the dispute between Baku and Tehran started erupting, specifically after the militia has sent threats to the Israeli embassy in the Azerbaijani capital.
The militia founded by Qasem Soleimani, the former commander of the Iranian Quds Force who was killed last year near Baghdad airport by a US air strike, calls itself the Azerbaijan Islamic Movement, inspired by the slogans of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as always with the sectarian militias supported by Iran in the region.
According to what websites and news pages reported, the name of the militia has been widely circulated after the Israeli embassy in Baku warned its citizens in Azerbaijan and revealed that it had received threats from the militia.
The motives behind the militia’s act are Tehran’s disapproval with the relations between Azerbaijan and Israel, as Iran is trying to strike a Shiite sectarian nerve among the residents of the Republic of Azerbaijan. So, the establishment of the Husseiniyun militia came as a prelude to influencing the Azeri street in case the Iranian relations with the Republic of Azerbaijan have deteriorated, and also for a possible confrontation with the Israeli presence on the Azerbaijan territory, if needed.
Not so many people know about the newly emerging militia, especially its structure, except for Tawhid Ibrahim Begli, its founder, who is known as one of the fiercest critics of Ilham Aliyev’s regime, Azerbaijani President. In 2016, Begli announced the militia in front of 14 students of religious sciences from the Republic of Azerbaijan who were studying in the Seminaries of Qom and Mashhad.
Begli said at the time that he had intended to establish Al-Husseiniyun Brigade. He claimed that the goal was to participate in the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) in Syria. However, it is like the rest of the militias supported by Iran on Syrian territory, such as the Afghani (Fatemiyoun), the Pakistani (Zainabiyoun), the Lebanese (Hezbollah) and the Iraqi (Kataeb Hezbollah and Harakat al-Nujaba), which have no records fighting ISIS as much as they have for supporting Bashar al-Assad regime and protect Iranian interests.
Begli’s plan that he announced himself got quickly implemented, as he sent students from Qom after only a day of training to Syria, and there they joined an Iranian military unit stationed near Damascus, the Syrian capital. He assured that their tasks after Syria would be to fight in Azerbaijan.
Azeri sources have confirmed that Qasem Soleimani was the one who launched the so-called “Azerbaijan Islamic Resistance Movement” and called them Husseiniyun. These sources have relied on photos in which were Soleimani and Tawhid Ibrahim Begli, the leader of Husseiniyun.