The statement was released on Thursday — concurrent with the premier’s meetings with American officials at the White House — by the resistance groups that form part of Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi or Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) anti-terror force, Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen television network reported.
The PMU, which includes such resistance groups as the Kata’ib Hezbollah and Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, has been integrated into the Iraqi Defense Forces as a result of its successful and indispensable contribution to the country’s defeating the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in late 2017.
The groups considered expulsion of the troops to be Baghdad’s top priority, urging the PM to accord primacy to a law approved by the parliament that mandates the forces’ withdrawal.
The legislature passed the law in January shortly after a US drone strike assassinated Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the PMU’s second-in-command, in Baghdad alongside many others. The attack came while General Solemani was paying an official visit to the Iraqi capital.
“If an agreement on the expulsion of US forces from Iraq is not concluded in Washington, we reserve the right to target America’s interests in Iraq,” the statement warned.
“We do not expect Kadhimi to return to his own country from Washington with new expansionist plots and scenarios devised by the United States,” the statement read.
The groups also weighed in on a recent agreement that enabled full normalization of relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel.
It condemned the development and cautioned, “We confront treacherous rulers and regimes that are considered to be cheap tools for prolonging the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.”