iraqi militia to hand heavy guns to army after daesh quashed
Last Updated : GMT 07:25:12
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Last Updated : GMT 07:25:12
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Iraqi militia to hand heavy guns to army after Daesh quashed

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Iraqi militia to hand heavy guns to army after Daesh quashed

The heavy weapons belong to the Iraqi government,
Baghdad - Arab Today

A prominent Iraqi militia indicated on Thursday it would give any heavy weapons it had to the military once Daesh was defeated and rejected a proposed US congressional bill designating it a terrorist group.
Harakat Hezbollah Al-Nujaba, which has about 10,000 fighters, is one of the most important militias in Iraq. Though made up of Iraqis, it is loyal to Iran and is helping Tehran create a supply route through Iraq to Damascus.
Al-Nujaba fights under the umbrella of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a mostly Iranian-backed coalition of Shiite militias that played a role in combating Daesh.
Disarming the PMF is seen as Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi’s most difficult test as Iraqi forces edge closer to declaring victory over the Sunni militants.
“The heavy weapons belong to the Iraqi government, not us. We are not rebels or agents of chaos and we do not want to be a state within a state,” Hashim Al-Mouasawi, the group’s spokesman, said at a news conference on Thursday.
He was responding to a Reuters question on whether his group would obey orders by Abadi, who as prime minister commands the military, to return heavy weaponry, reduce the number of fighters, or withdraw from Syria. He would not be drawn on the reduction of fighters or Syria.
“The PMF is under the command of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and naturally when the war is over and victory is declared, the final decision will be his,” Mouasawi said.
His comments broadly echoed those of Iraqi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool.
“The tanks, armored vehicles, and machine guns belong to the army and it is natural that after the battles are over they return to the army,” Rasool told Reuters in an interview.
Al-Nujaba strongly objected to moves by Washington toward designating it a terrorist group. Al-Nujaba blames the US, without providing evidence, for the creation of Daesh.
Republican US Representative Ted Poe introduced a bill this month to the House of Representatives that would place Al-Nujaba and another militia loyal to Iran on a list of terrorist groups and give President Donald Trump 90 days to impose sanctions on it once it passed.
The bill was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, sparking condemnation in Baghdad from Iraqi lawmakers and Abadi himself, who said he would not allow anyone who fought Daesh to be treated as criminals.
“Accusing us of terrorism is not new or surprising. It is not a coincidence, and does not shock us, because we have never been part of the American bloc or project,” said Mouasawi.
Iraq is backed by adversaries the US and Iran in its fight against Daesh.
The US is concerned that Iran, a Shiite Muslim regional power, will take advantage of gains against Daesh in Iraq and Syria to expand the influence it amassed after the US invasion in 2003, something Sunni Arab rivals such as Saudi Arabia also oppose.
Tens of thousands of Iraqis heeded a call to arms in 2014 after Daesh seized a third of the country’s territory, forming the PMF, which receive funding and training from Tehran and have been declared part of the Iraqi security apparatus.
They are paid by the Iraqi government and officially report to the prime minister, but some Arab Sunni and Kurdish politicians describe these militias as a de facto branch of the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp. (IRGC).
Mouasawi openly said on Thursday his group receives support in the form of “advice” from the Guards and the commander of its foreign operations, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and Lebanese Shiite political and military group Hezbollah.

Source:Arabnews

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iraqi militia to hand heavy guns to army after daesh quashed iraqi militia to hand heavy guns to army after daesh quashed

 



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