by Hamdi Malik
From The Washington Institute
Part of a series: Militia Spotlight: Profiles
or see Part 1: How to Use Militia Spotlight: Profiles
Media www.rajawalisiber.com – Fatemiyoun Electronic Squad is a cyber facade group that undertakes cyber attacks on behalf of Kataib Hezbollah, in close collaboration with other KH affiliates.
Name: Fariq Fatemiyoun al-Electronic (FFE), (Fatemiyoun Electronic Squad)
Type of Movement: Cyber facade group. Propaganda social media channel. Non-lethal / non-violent support to kinetic military, kinetic paramilitary. Counter-U.S., Gulf States and domestic Iraqi moderates.
History and objectives:
- FFE was formed on January 29, 2020. The group “takes it upon itself to defend the religion [Shiism] and its historic and contemporary leaders in the electronic realm” according to the introduction provided in FFE telegram channel.
- FFE’s primary claimed activities and methods include attacking social media accounts/websites belonging to enemies of the muqawama.
- FFE’s objectives includes:
- Hacking enemy websites/social media accounts
- Disrupting opponents’ social media accounts via mass reporting of possible violation of social media community guidelines with the intention of getting opposing accounts shut down.
- Providing support and training to muqawama affiliated social media accounts to guard against hostile cyber attacks
- Help unsuspend muqawama social media accounts which have been suspended due to violation of social media community guidelines
- Recruiting tech-savvy young people to expand hacking campaigns, via its own bot.
- FFE’s secondary objectives include:
- Spreading disinformation, including to discredit the Iraqi government
- Inciting muqawama supporters and other Iraqis against any party or individuals deemed anti-muqawama
- Propagating anti-U.S. sentiment
- Promoting and disseminating real and fake news of the facade groups’ kinetic operations
- Promoting muqawama street vigilante groups.
Chain of Command:
- Preponderance of evidence indicates that FFE is controlled by Kataib Hezbollah (KH). This is based on analysis of media linkages between FFE and other KH-run channels, particularly with Unit 10,000.
- Unit 10,000. Based on a message by Unit 10,000 posted on November 5, 2020, “FFE is Unit 10,000’s electronic strike brigade”.
- Fariq Fatemiyoun al-Maydani (FFM), (Fatemiyoun Field Squad). FFE runs a sister group called Fariq Fatemiyoun al-Maydani (FFM) (Fatemiyoun Field Squad) which is engaged in street vigilante activities. FFM provides manpower for groups such as Raba Allah in their kinetic vigilante operations such as burning satellite TV offices or offices of political parties. The group also actively participates in smear and intimidation campaigns against political activists, media personalities and politicians. FFM activities remain secondary to FFE’s operations in cyberspace.
- FFE operates its own media channel on Telegram
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