He was born in Iraq and after university joined the Shiite Islamist Dawa Party. Saddam Hussein banned the party so al-Mohandes fled to Iran where he started working with the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) against Iraq.
He since married an Iranian woman and often goes back to Iran to visit his family who are still there.
His home in Baghdad is in the fortified Green Zone, not far from where former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki lives.
He received a death sentence in 2007 from a court in Kuwait for his involvement in the bombings of the French and US embassies there in 1983. The attack, which injured almost 100 people and killed six, was planned by the IRGC as retaliation against the countries supporting Iraq in the war against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In 2005, al-Mohandes was elected to parliament in Iraq after the invasion. A couple of years, US officials found out about his background so he had to flee back to Iran. The US classed him as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.
In 2011, al-Mohandes went back to Iraq to manage al-Hashd al-Shaabi. He is formally the country’s deputy national security advisor and also leads Kataib Hezbollah – an Iran-backed militia.
In a biography of al-Mohandes, it is mentioned that he believes in a Shiite theocracy and sees himself as a representative of Ali Khamenei – the Supreme Leader of Iran. He is also a close contact to the commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force – Qasem Soleimani.
US diplomat, Ali Khedery, once declared that the “real prime minister” of Iraq is Qasem Soleimani, with al-Mohandes as his deputy.
This is just one example of the Iranian regime’s tactics of using militia groups to further its agenda in other countries. One advantage of having others do their dirty work for them is that they can deny any involvement.
Denying any wrongdoing is extremely important to the Iranian regime because it really needs to keep the 2015 nuclear deal in place. Without the nuclear deal, the Iranian regime would have found itself in a crisis that it would not be able to overcome.
Most recently, Iran has used a proxy to threaten Saudi Arabia. It was al-Mohandes himself who said in a video that his group will cleanse the Islamic State from the region. He praised the Houthis in Yemen and expressed his hope of joining them.
The Iranian regime views this as a threatening act, but many just see it as a desperate act.