IraqMiddle EastNorth AmericaQasem Suleimani

Iraq’s anti-terror fighters will never surrender to US: PMU chief

The chairman of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) or Hashd al-Sha'abi has highlighted the role of the counter-terrorism force in defending the Arab country against the Daesh Takfiri terror outfit, stressing that it will never give in to the US.

Speaking on Wednesday, Falih al-Fayyadh described the PMU as an Iraqi military institution that is one of the main arms of the country’s national defense system.

The group, he added, abides by the strategy of the national army in its counter-terrorism response.

Fayyadh further said that the PMU is the manifestation of the Iraqi nation’s will, and that those rejecting the anti-terror group are actually seeking to weaken Iraq.

Hash al-Sha’abi made many sacrifices to defend Iraq and would in no way capitulate to the US or any other party, he added.

The PMU is an Iraqi government-sponsored umbrella organization composed of around 40 factions of volunteer counter-terrorism forces, including mostly Shia Muslims besides Sunni Muslims, Christians and Kurds.

In the early days of the Daesh’s reign of terror, PMU fighters played a major role in reinforcing the Iraqi army, which had suffered heavy setbacks against the Takfiri elements.

In November 2016, the Iraqi parliament voted to integrate the PMU into the military in amid US efforts to sideline the group.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Fayyadh referred to the US assassination of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the PMU’s second-in-command, and called for the continuation of the path pursued by the commander.

Muhandis was killed, alongside top Iranian anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, in a fatal US drone strike ordered by President Donald Trump near Baghdad airport on January 3.

Two days later, the Iraqi parliament unanimously approved a bill, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country.

The PMU leader emphasized that the Iraqi parliament’s decision is fundamentally linked to the assassination operation, and that the government’s position is in line with that of the legislature on the expulsion of American troops.

Daesh’s back is broken and its self-proclaimed caliphate is destroyed, he said, noting that the Takfiri group’s resurgence in Iraq as an effective force is no longer possible.

Iraq cooperates with all its neighbors, especially Syria, in the fight against terrorism, and attaches great importance to its historical relations with Damascus, Fayyadh pointed out.

He also said that Iraq’s ties with Iran are at their best, adding that Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s recent visit to Tehran and his meeting with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani shows the depth of bilateral bonds.

Iranian military advisers — led by General Soleimani — aided Iraqi Armed Forces on Baghdad’s request to reverse Daesh’s gains and ultimately liberate their entire homeland in December 2017.

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