IraqMiddle East

Iraqi MPs slam US’ blacklisting of anti-terrorism commanders

Iraqi lawmakers have slammed the US' blacklisting of a number of the country's anti-terrorism commanders amid reports of a drone strike that hit somewhere near the residence of an influential anti-American Iraqi leader.

Iraq’s Baghdad al-Youm website reported that Iraqi lawmakers have denounced Washington’s Friday move to impose sanctions targeting leaders of Iraq’s Asaib Ahl al-Haq and Kata’ib Hezbollah groups which operate as part of the country’s Popular Mobilization Units.

The Hikma bloc of the Iraqi parliament, lead by top Iraqi cleric Ammar al-Hakim, issued a statement decrying the measure as an instance of “blatant meddling in Iraq’s affairs.”

“We regard these measures as a clear violation of Iraq’s sovereignty,” the statement read.

US imposes sanctions on three Iraqi Hashd al-Sha’abi leaders

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Mohammad al-Rabiei, spokesperson for the al-Sadiqoun parliamentary bloc affiliated with Iraq’s Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq movement, decried the measure as being illegitimate and useless.

“Die of you anger [against us], for we lead the resistance against occupation, Takfiri terrorism, separatism and ambitions,” he said, adding that his groups stand “against the hegemonic plans of the US”.

Also on Friday, Iraq’s al-Sumeria television reported that Salih Mohammed al-Iraqi, a figure affiliated with Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, said that a drone hit the al-Hannanah neighborhood in which the residence of Sadr in the city of Najaf is located.

The report did not further elaborate on the source of the attack or possible casualties.

The strike comes as reports have alleged that US forces and Israeli-operated drones have targeted Iraqi forces, specifically Iraq’s PMU forces, on numerous occasions.

The PMU is known to have played a major role countering the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group’s influence in Iraq.

US-Israeli attacks on PMU meant to revive Daesh in Iraq: Kata'ib Hezbollah

US-Israeli attacks on PMU meant to revive Daesh in Iraq: Kata’ib HezbollahThe Iraqi resistance group Kata

The strike comes a day after a report emerged claiming that the US was allowing Daesh to roam freely under its sights in Iraq’s western al-Anbar Province, further casting doubt on the true reasons for US military presence in Iraq.

“The way in which American aircraft act in regard to Daesh positions in al-Anbar’s northern areas has raised many questions,” Iraq’s al-Maalomah news agency quoted an unnamed source in Iraq’s PMU Operations Command in al-Anbar.

The source stressed that the American forces were aware of the terrorist movements and their negative effect on the security of the province.

“American planes fly over these regions for long durations without striking any Daesh cell positions,” he said.

The source added that the American behavior was “surprising”, specifically because the mission of US forces deployed in Anbar’s Ayn al-Assad military base was to “strike Daesh sleeper cells”.

The US first deployed forces to Iraq in 2003 under the banner of the so-called “war on terror”. The deployment was followed by rampant violence and chaos, which set the stage for the emergence of Daesh in 2014.

Washington then mobilized scores of its allies in another mission to purportedly root out the terrorists.

The US-led coalition, however, was suspiciously slow in progress, while its airstrikes against purported terrorist positions led to heavy civilian casualties and damage to Iraqi infrastructure.

Numerous reports have also documented that Washington has provided Daesh terrorists with weapons and military support.

Leader of Iraqi Shia militia: US using Daesh as excuse to fulfill interests

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Observers have warned that the US is seeking to facilitate the reemergence of Daesh by manipulating Iraq’s ongoing major anti-corruption and economic protests and by destabilizing the country.

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