Iran’s ambassador in Baghdad defended the role of the Popular Mobilization Units, better known as Hashd al-Shaabi, in fighting terrorism in Iraq, saying the force is necessary for the country’s security.
“Hashd al-Shaabi is today a powerful legal organization in Iraq and recognized by the Iraqi government and parliament,” Iraj Masjedi also said in an interview with Press TV earlier this week.
On Friday, Iraq’s most senior Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said the volunteer forces, who helped the army eradicate IS, should be “incorporated” into state bodies.
The secretary-general of Badr Organization, Iraq’s biggest Shia Muslim paramilitary group, told his fighters on Thursday to take orders from the national military and sever their relations with the group’s political wing, which holds 22 seats in the Iraqi Parliament.
Asked about recent calls by western countries for dismantling the group, Masjedi said the group’s dissolution “has no meaning”.
“If the US and others call [for dismantling PMU], firstly, it is none of their business and this decision is for the Iraqi people to take. Secondly, in my opinion, it is a necessity for Iraq’s security and its defense,” he said.
The Iranian envoy stressed that Hashd al-Shaabi is a force that has, along with other Iraqi armed forces, created a big military, defense and defense power for the country.
Read full article on The Financial Tribune, December 18, 2017.