Only Iran stood by Iraq in difficult times of anti-Daesh fight: Politician

An Iraqi politician has appreciated the role played by top anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in the fight against the Daesh terrorist group, saying only Iran supported the Iraqi nation in its difficult times.

Hadi al-Amiri, the head of Fatah (Conquest) Alliance at the Iraqi parliament, made the remarks during a ceremony in the holy city of Najaf on Saturday to mark the first anniversary of the US assassination of General Soleimani and his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).

He said the two commanders played a significant role in stabilizing Iraq and confronting occupation and terrorism.

Both were assassinated along with their companions in a US drone strike authorized by President Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020.

“During the difficult situation in Iraq, it was only the Islamic Republic of Iran that stood by us and supported our nation in the fight against the Daesh terrorist group,” Amiri said.

“We thank Martyr Qassem Soleimani for his role in supporting the Iraqi nation in difficulties and hardships.”

In 2014, when Daesh unleashed its campaign of terror in Iraq, Iranian military advisers rushed to the aid of Iraqi armed forces on Baghdad’s request, helping them reverse Daesh’s gains and ultimately liberate their entire homeland from the terrorist outfit some three years later.

According to Iraqi leaders, the crucial aid came just as Daesh had reached the gates of Baghdad and Iraq’s desperate pleas for help from the US and other countries had gone unanswered. 

Amiri said, “The Daesh sedition had international backing, but the fatwa (religious decree) issued by the Iraqi religious authority thwarted and defeated it.”  

He was referring to a June 2014 fatwa issued by Iraq’s most prominent Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who called on all Iraqi citizens to take arms and defend their homeland against Daesh.

The fatwa gathered Shia fighters, Sunni tribesmen as well as Christian and Izadi volunteers under the umbrella of the PMU, commonly known as Hashd al-Sha’abi, to prevent Daesh’s advances.

In his remarks, Amiri stressed that Iraq’s stability only relies on the withdrawal of foreign forces.

“Our first demand is the pullout of American troops and the handover of Iraq’s affairs to the Iraqis, because they are able to provide security and build their country by themselves.”

Two days after Washington’s assassination of General Soleimani and Muhandis, Iraqi lawmakers approved a bill, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country.

Amiri emphasized that the parliamentary resolution as well as the million-strong rallies, which were held in commemoration of the anti-terror commanders across Iraq, served as a referendum underlining the need for foreign forces’ withdrawal.

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