Iraqi PM slams United States call for Iranian militias to quit Iraq

Aaron Brown
October 25, 2017

The visit was identified as a demonstration of Washington's support for a united Iraq following the Kurdish independence referendum. "Certainly Iranian militias that are in Iraq , now that the fighting against (IS) is coming to a close, those militias need to go home", Tillerson said.

Shia militia include those who ideologically align with the Islamic Republic of Iran such as the Badr Organization, who worked with US troops following the 2003 USA invasion, as well as groups like Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq - a paramilitary group that carried out daring operations against occupying forces during the insurrection that followed the collapse of the Iraqi state. The Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi and Iraqi forces on October 16 took control of the city of Kirkuk, which had been under the protection of the Kurdish Peshmerga Forces since mid-2014.

A coalition mostly made up of Iranian-backed militias, it has played a key role in Iraq 's successful fightback against the militants over the past three years.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speaking Tuesday while on a trip to Iraq, said he is "concerned and a bit saddened by the recent differences" experienced between the Iraqi government and the minority Kurds.

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Tillerson arrived on Monday hours after the prime minister's media office rejected the call to demobilize the Popular Mobilization, who played a crucial role defeating the Islamic State group and helped Baghdad capture the Kurdish-held city of Kirkuk.

The meeting comes a day after Tillerson called on Iranian militias to leave Iraq, prompting a sharp response from Abadi's cabinet.

Parties have been unable to focus on the elections because of turmoil that followed a referendum on September 25 on Kurdish independence, a Kurdish MP said on condition of anonymity. "We understand the hopes of Kurdish people to strive and strengthen their identity. but it would be right to realise these hopes through dialogue with the Iraqi government", Lavrov said after talks with Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari.

The Iraqi government strongly opposed the referendum vote and sent troops last week into several Kurdish-held territories to seize back control for the central government.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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