US sanctions Iraqi low-cost airline Fly Baghdad for supporting Iranian militias 

Shutterstock // Jeffry Surianto

Iraqi low-cost carrier Fly Baghdad has been added to the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) list of sanctioned entities

The airline, its CEO, Basheer Abdulkadhim Alwan al-Shabbani, and two of its aircraft (a Boeing 737-800 and a Boeing 737-700, registered YI-BAF and YI-BAF respectively) have received this designation for “providing assistance to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps–Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and its proxy groups in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon”. 

US authorities stated that Fly Baghdad aircraft have been shipping weapons, fighters and cash to Damascus International Airport (DAM), which have then been used by the IRGC-QF and a plethora of Iran-aligned militia groups operating in Syria, such as the Syrian Arab Republican Guard, Hizballah in Lebanon, Kata’ib Hizballah (KH) and the KH-affiliated Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas Brigade. 

These shipments, which, according to the US government, have taken place over prolonged period of time, included a broad range of weapons, such as Iranian-made Fateh, Zulfiqar, and al-Fajr series missiles, AK-47s, RPG-7s, and other types of grenades and machine guns as well as US-made weapons obtained in the battlefield in the Middle East. 

As a result of this designation, all assets belonging to the airline or the designated persons that are in the United States or in the possession or control of US persons are blocked and must be reported to the OFAC. It is also now illegal for any US person or company to transact with the sanctioned entities and people. 

As of January 2024, Fly Baghdad operates a fleet of eight aircraft, six of them US-made (five B737-800, one B737-700 and one B737-900ER) in addition to two Canadian-made regional jets (one CRJ-200ER and one CRJ-900). 

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