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Abadi Defends Role of Iran-Backed Militias
Abadi Defends Role of Iran-Backed Militias

Abadi Defends Role of Iran-Backed Militias

Abadi Defends Role of Iran-Backed Militias

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi defended the role of Iran-backed militias at a meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Baghdad on Monday.
Tillerson arrived on Monday hours after the Iraqi government rejected his call to send home the Popular Mobilization Forces, an Iran-backed Iraqi force that helped defeat the self-styled Islamic State terror group.
Abadi said PMF “is part of the Iraqi institutions”, rejecting accusations that it is acting as an Iranian proxy, Reuters reported.
Iraq is allied closely to both the US and Iran, and Tillerson’s effort to drive a wedge between Baghdad and Tehran appeared to have backfired.
Tillerson visited Iraq a day after a rare joint meeting with Abadi and Saudi King Salman in Riyadh.
After that meeting, he called on Iraq to halt the work of the militia units.
“Iranian militias that are in Iraq, now that the fight against Daesh [the Arabic acronym for IS] is coming to a close, those militias need to go home,” Tillerson said.
Abadi’s office responded sharply. “No party has the right to interfere in Iraqi matters.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also dismissed Tillerson’s remarks. The militias could not go home because “they are at home” already, he said.

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