Iraq’s Maliki welcomes Hezbollah-negotiated deal with ISIS

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Iraqi Vice President and leader of the State of Law coalition Nouri al-Maliki welcomed the recent Hezbollah-negotiated deal with ISIS and said the decision to transfer hundreds of ISIS fighters from Lebanese borders to the Syrian city of Deir az-Zour was the right decision.

The deal has sparked outrage in Iraq with many politicians, including Prime Minister Haidar Abadi, condemning the deal.

Maliki said the deal was part of the battle’s strategy against terrorism, noting that what happens in Deir az-Zour and Abu Kamal are Syrian matters while overlooking that these two areas are adjacent to the Iraqi borders where Iraqi troops are combating terrorism.

Among those slamming the deal is Iraqi Al-Ahrar parliamentary bloc Member of Parliament Awad al-Awadi who said the Syrian government “can go to hell” if Iraqi blood will be shed for its sake.

Awadi, who represents the Sadrist movement, added that no Iraqi will accept to compromise at the expense of the Iraqi people’s blood. In another interview with Al-Hadath television station, Awadi called on the Iraqi government to take stronger stances towards the deal.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the alliance of Arab tribes in Ninevah Sheikh Muzahim al-Hawyeet told Al-Hadath that tribes reject the deal, adding that transferring ISIS fighters to areas adjacent to the Iraqi border is a new threat against Sunni governorates.

Hawyeet also said that the alliance between ISIS and Iranian-backed militias has been exposed and called on the international coalition to shell any convoy that attempts to come near Iraqi borders.

Hezbollah militias have allowed ISIS elements to ride buses to get out of Lebanon’s Jroud and go to Deir al-Zour under an agreement involving the Syrian regime amid controversial accusations that Hezbollah is making deals at the expense of the Lebanese army.

In response, Abadi rejected the deal while Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri warned of going back to square one and rejected any deal that may bring ISIS back into Iraq or close to its borders.

In response to the official Iraqi stance, Hezbollah justified the agreement by saying that it stipulates transferring ISIS fighters and their families from Syrian territories to other Syrian territories.

Iraqi media websites warned of the agreement’s repercussions and reported that Iranian intelligence members, upon coordination with Maliki and their envoy Iraj Masjedi, agreed to supply ISIS members with dangerous weapons.

The reports added that Tehran decided to avenge from Sadr after he visited a number of Arab countries.

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