Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi defended the Iranian-backed militias operating in his country after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson criticized them. According to al-Abadi, the militias are made up of Iraqis who are not working for Tehran.
Shi’ite militia in Iraq Photo Credit: EPA
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has responded to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent comments about the Iranian-backed militias in Iraq. During a meeting on Monday with the senior U.S. official, al-Abadi defended the forces’ involvement in the conflicts in Iraq.
The Popular Mobilization Forces, an umbrella organization for mainly Shi’ite militias backed by Tehran, helped the Iraqi Army defeat ISIS in Mosul and take back the oil-rich Kirkuk province from the Kurds. According to reports, al-Abadi stated that the organization is made up of Iraqis who are not acting as Iranian proxies.
Earlier this week, Tillerson spoke out against the Iranian-backed militias in Iraq. “Those fighters need to go home,” he stated during his visit to Saudi Arabia. “Any foreign fighters [in Iraq] need to go home.” While in Riyadh, Tillerson met with Saudi King Salman and held a press conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.