Former Iran-Trained Badr Corps Members Arrested in Arizona, Accused of Hiding Past

Badr Brigade flag
Badr Brigade flag

Three foreign nationals arrested in Arizona last week are accused of hiding their past membership in an Iran-trained Iraqi militia.

A 10-count federal indictment filed on February 18 states that Hadi Assi Mubarak and his two sons, Haidar Hadi Assi Mubarak and Ali Hadi Mubarak, (a.k.a. Jihad Hadi Mubarak), failed to mention their former membership in the Badr Corps on immigration forms.

The three men and a fourth suspect , Wahida Juma Odah, were taken into custody "without incident" on Thursday, according to the FBI.

Hadi Mubarak appears to have arrived in Phoenix two years after the start of the 2003 Iraq War.

The Badr Corps, also known as the Badr Brigade, fought against Iraq during the long Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s, then helped battle Sadaam Hussein's forces after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. According to online sources, the Shi'ite-aligned Badr Brigade forces launched terror attacks against Sunni targets, but also developed a political party that continues to influence governmental affairs in Iraq.

On Friday, New Times made inquiries with the Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office, which is handling the prosecution of the four immigrants, but didn't hear back. The FBI issued a news release about the arrests on Friday but left out the most details found in court documents, including the allegations about the Badr Corps.

New Times asked the FBI about the possible motives of the suspects: Are they believed to have been here for peaceful purposes -- just a few more of the multitudes of immigrants who seek a better life in this country -- or... what?

Agent Perryn Collier, FBI spokesperson, said on Friday that the sparse news release was the only information he was authorized to release. The FBI rarely comments about ongoing investigations, so their silence isn't necessarily evidence of anything.

The modern Badr Brigade isn't ISIS, either -- in fact, the militia group has made headlines recently for fighting against ISIS. Yet a few years ago, the militia fought against U.S. interests by routinely kidnapping and executing Iraqis who were members of the Sunni Islamic sect, human-rights groups report.

Charges for the Mubarak men include conspiracy to provide a false statement in naturalization matters, making false statements, unlawful procurement of citizenship and possession of immigration document procured by false statement -- nothing too sinister on its own, in other words.

Still, it's an interesting case:

Authorities claim that Mubarak "provided a fraudulent story to his family, including incorrect dates of birth for his sons." (The younger men are listed in local court records as being in their early 30s).

"Mubarak instructed his family to memorize this story and provide this information to United States Immigration Officials in their Refugee applications and interviews," the indictment states.

All four suspects allegedly provided incorrect birth dates in their N-400 applications to become naturalized citizens.

Beginning in 2005 and through 2008, the elder Mubarak is said to have lied on forms and to immigration authorities about his past. He claimed he hadn't been a member of any organization at all, and had never advocated for the violent overthrow of any government -- but he was lying, the feds say.

His sons lied about the same thing in 2011 while applying for naturalization, according to the indictment.

Hadi Mubarak obtained a passport in 2008 thanks to the fraud, and he also reportedly knew he wouldn't have qualified for naturalization had he disclosed the Badr Corps details.

Ali "Jihad" Hadi Mubarak merited two additional counts all to himself for allegedly lying about his marital status on official forms. In a 2012 petition to bring his wife to the United States, Ali Mubarak seems to have forgotten that he was still in the process of trying to obtain a travel visa for another woman he claimed was his wife.

Internet records show that a Hadi Mubarak lived in Glendale. In 2013, "Haidar Mubarak" was listed as a member in a Phoenix-based limited-liability corporation opened in 2013 called "W & H Wholesasale Auto LLC."

We'll update the story when we learn more.

Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX. Follow Ray Stern on Twitter at @RayStern.

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