PMU militia leader: Even Iraqi government cannot dismantle us

Shiite fighters of the Popular Mobilization militias patrol in recently liberated neighborhoods from ISIS militants in the eastern Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. (AP)

Mahdi al-Muhandis, the Deputy Commander of Iran-backed militias known as Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) in Iraq, vowed on Monday that his forces will never be dismantled even if Baghdad decided to do so.

Asked if PMU will be dissolved after total liberation of Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul, Muhandis said: “it is not possible even if [decision] was signed by the head of the government”, during a meeting of the General Assembly of the Union of Radio and Television in the Iranian city of Mashhad.

He described the dissolution of PMU as a “big crime,” emphasizing that it was formed after a Fatwa a fatwa (edict) by influential spiritual leader belonging to Iraq’s Shiite majority, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called on Iraqis to fight ISIS.

Muhandis’ statement has come in the wake of a controversial law that the Iraqi parliament is studying. The law makes provision for those who fought ISIS, including PMU militias, from not being questioned.

In a statement released by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), the commander said that PMU will not participate in elections but there are political parties who are currently part of the Iraqi political process.

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US presence in the region

Muhandis also threatened that the deployment of US forces will not be allowed alongside the Iraqi-Syrian borders. While he said the Americans have placed a surface-to-surface missile system at Baghdad-Amman highway to secure it, the commander accused Washington of wanting to steal victory from the Iraqis in its war against ISIS.

“We will stop with all the strength we have the US plan to control Iraqi and Syria borders,” he said. “They accuse us of opening up the Damascus-Baghdad highway; we will safeguard this route and America has no business being there.”

PMU has reportedly been present in Syria despite Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi last month warning that no Iraqi forces were allowed beyond the country’s territories.

Muhandis also acknowledged the support from Iran and Hezbollah adding that PMU would not succeeded in getting rid of ISIS in Iraq without them.

“We will see an Iraqi regional role in supporting Syria,” he said.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49
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