The leader of Iraq’s Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, which is part of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), has condemned the recent killing of two senior commanders of the group, warning about the activities of ‘external powers’ that want to see the country in chaos.
“His blood is on America and Israel’s hands, but I will take revenge, many times over.”
Those were the words of Qais al-Khazali, who addressed the funeral of Wissam al-Alyawi and his brother Issam in Baghdad on Saturday, holding back tears as he stood next to the wailing mother of the two fighters.
Assailants torched offices tied to the pro-government paramilitary force on Friday afternoon in Missan province.
“This blood is proof to all our people of the size of the conspiracy that is targeting us,” Khazali said, adding, “The latest incident was an attack on the headquarters of forces involved in the defeat of the Daesh Takfiri terrorists and the US-Saudi-Israeli project in Iraq.”
Infiltrators among protesters, he said, were spawning insecurity and vandalizing public property.
Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, also appealed to the public to “confront the ongoing sedition,” which aims to undermine the government of Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi.
Hadi al-Ameri, who heads Iraq’s Badr Organization, also blamed Israel and the United States for Alyawi’s death.
“They don’t want a stable Iraq. They want to pull it into discord and chaos,” said Ameri, who attended the funeral.
Many Iraqi cities have recently been the scene of demonstrations against alleged government corruption.
Harakat Nujaba, a Shia movement known for its active cooperation with the national army in counterterrorism operations, urged the protesters to stay peaceful. “Take a careful look, and let us be united.”
The PMU, also known as Hashd al-Sha’abi, is a group of Shia and Sunni fighters that was formed after the emergence of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in Iraq in 2014.
Abdul-Mahdi, who rose to power only a year ago, has pledged more reforms aimed at improving the economy. He believes the people are free to exercise their right to demonstrate but violence is not tolerated.
The Iraqi premier has struggled to address the protesters’ demands.