First Published: 2017-10-23

Iraq dismisses US call for Iranian-backed militias to 'go home'
Iraqi government says no party has right to interfere in Iraqi matters in sign of Baghdad’s unwillingness to meet Tillerson’s demand.
Middle East Online

Abadi showed unwillingness to meet Tillerson's demand

BAGHDAD - The Iraqi government has dismissed a call from US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for Iranian-backed paramilitary units that helped Baghdad defeat Islamic State to end operations in Iraq.

Speaking after a meeting on Sunday with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Saudi Arabia's King Salman, Tillerson said it was time for the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation forces and their Iranian advisers to "go home". Washington, which backed Baghdad against Islamic State, is concerned Iran will use its expanded presence in Iraq and in Syria to expand its influence in the region.

But Abadi showed unwillingness to meet Tillerson's demand.

"No party has the right to interfere in Iraqi matters," the statement from his office read. It did not cite the prime minister himself but a "source" close to him.

Trained and armed by Iran, the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation forces often supported Iraqi government units in the fight against the militants who were effectively defeated in July when a US-backed offensive captured their stronghold Mosul.

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 Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp.

Iraq's Sunni neighbours, including Saudi Arabia, share Washington's concerns over Shi'ite power Iran's influence in Iraq, where the population is also predominantly Shi'ite.

But the office of Abadi, himself a Shi'ite, said the forces were under the authority of the Iraqi government. "Popular Mobilisation are Iraqi patriots," it said in the statement.

The United States trained tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers in the course of rebuilding the Iraqi armed forces and has over 5,000 troops deployed in the country, providing key air and ground support to the offensive on Islamic State.

 

Lebanon’s Hariri suspends resignation

Divided Syria opposition meets in Riyadh

Revolt in US State Department over child soldier law

US carries out air strikes against IS in Libya

Morocco bans bitcoin transactions

Saudi-led coalition to reopen Yemen airport, port to aid

Turkey court rules to keep Amnesty chief in jail

France calls for UN meeting on Libya slave-trading

Egypt detains 29 for allegedly spying for Turkey

WTO panel to hear Qatar’s complaint against UAE blockade

Three dead as diphtheria spreads in Yemen

Israel seizes explosive material at Gaza border

Activists call for release of UK journalist held by IS

Bahrain upholds jail sentence for activist

Iraq attacks at lowest since 2014

Turkey continues crackdown in post-coup probe

Hariri back in Lebanon

Putin to hold Syria peace talks with Erdogan, Rouhani

Lebanon's Hariri in Egypt ahead of return home

Rebels say Sanaa airport 'ready to run' after coalition bombing

Greece to amend historic sharia law for Muslim minority

Turkey to ask Germany to extradite top coup suspect

Car bomb in northern Iraq kills at least 24

13 million Syrians need aid despite relative drop in violence

Sudan urged to improve plight of Darfur's displaced people

Brain drain means Syria can’t recover for a generation

Palestinians close communication lines with Americans

Anti-IS coalition strikes drop to lowest number

German police arrest six Syrians ‘planning terror attack’

Palestinian factions in Cairo for reconciliation talks

Turkish opposition daily web editor sentenced to 3 years in jail

Israeli police arrest 33 in ultra-Orthodox draft riots

Turkish lira at new low against US dollar

Islamic republic declares end of Islamic State

Assad in Russia for talks with Putin

UN chief horrified by Libya slave auctions

Qatar 2022 chief has no regrets over hosting World Cup

Gheit says Lebanon should be 'spared' from regional tensions

Saudi Arabia, Arab allies push for unity against Iran, Hezbollah meddling

Syria ‘de-escalation zone’ does nothing to stop civilian deaths

Is a demilitarised Palestinian state a viable option?

S&P affirms good Saudi credit ratings

Israel president faces big backlash over Palestinian scarf

Sudan leader to visit Russia Thursday

Seven years into Libya’s civil war, the chaos continues