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Hezbollah leading armed Shia groups in Iraq after Soleimani's death

Outraged Iraqi protesters storm the US Embassy in Baghdad, protesting Washington's attacks on armed battalions belong to Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi forces on December 31, 2019 [Murtadha Sudani / Anadolu Agency]
Outraged Iraqi protesters storm the US Embassy in Baghdad, protesting Washington's attacks on armed battalions belong to Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi forces on December 31, 2019 [Murtadha Sudani / Anadolu Agency]

Just a few days after the assassination of the head of Iran’s Quds Force, Qassim Soleimani, in a US drone attack in Iraq, Hezbollah met with leaders of Shia armed groups to unite them and fill the vacuum left by Soleimani and Abu Mehdi Al-Muhandis, Arabi21 revealed yesterday.

Reporting informed sources, Arabi21 said that the armed groups in Iraq suffer from divisions so Hezbollah was needed to unify them.

The meetings concentrated on how Iran and its allies would reinforce its control over the unstable Middle East, including war-torn Iraq where 5,000 US soldiers are stationed.

Iraqi sources said that the meetings started in January, but did not give details about how  many were held or where.

Read: US forces ‘to start withdrawing from 15 bases in Iraq’

One of the Iraqi sources said that Sheikh Mohamed Al Kawtharani, Hezbollah’s representative in Iraq, hosted the meetings.

Al Kawtharani does not enjoy the respect that Soleimani and Al-Muhandis had among the armed groups, but he is seen as the best choice to run a transitional stage, because, according to Shia sources, he has good relations with all of the armed groups, the sources said.

An American official said that Iran would likely depend on Hezbollah because it enjoys “deep respect” among Iran’s allies in the region.

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