An Iraqi lawmaker has warned of a “dangerous” US plot to target military bases run by Hashd al-Sha’abi, a paramilitary force that has actively cooperated with the Iraqi army in counter-terrorism operations.
In a statement carried by the Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network on Saturday, MP Karim Alawi said that American forces had begun reconnaissance operations to collect information about Hashd al-Sha’abi bases in Baghdad and other Iraqi provinces.
He called on Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to take action and confront those who are cooperating with the Americans in the reconnaissance operations.
Hashd al-Sha’abi, a combination of some 40 groups of mostly Shia fighters as well as Sunnis and Christians, was formed shortly after the Daesh emerged in Iraq in mid-2014.
Daesh unleashed a campaign of death and destruction in Iraq, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks. Iraq declared the end of the anti-Daesh campaign last December, but the group’s remnants still keep staging sporadic attacks.
In the early days of the Daesh’s reign of terror, Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters played a major role in reinforcing the Iraqi army, which had suffered heavy setbacks in the face of lightning advances by the Takfiri elements.
In November 2016, the Iraqi parliament voted to integrate Hashd al-Sha’abi into the military in the face of US efforts to sideline the group.
The Iraqi parliament votes to transform Popular Mobilization Units into a legal and separate military corps.
The US launched a military campaign purportedly against the Daesh in Iraq in 2014, but its behavior toward the Takfiri group has been questioned by many observers, some of whom believe the two sides are even allies.
Earlier this week, Iraqi lawmakers called for the withdrawal of US troops, saying they see no justification for the presence of foreign troops about a year after the defeat of Daesh.
The American presence “is, in my opinion, a violation of the Iraqi sovereignty,” Iraqi MP Amer al-Shebli told Press TV on Friday.
“Sovereignty is the most valuable asset in any nation. The sacrifices of the Iraqi people in their fight against Daesh show how important their country’s sovereignty is for them. Today, no country will allow foreign military bases on its land,” said another legislator Kadhim al-Sayadi.