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Iraq: clans warn of irregular Shia militia mobilisation

February 7, 2022 at 11:45 am

Militants can be seen raising the Iraq and Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) flag, 27 January 2017 [Mahmoud Hosseini/Wikipedia]

An Iraqi clan leader in Anbar Province has issued a warning that Shia militias belonging to the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) have gathered on the eastern border of the province. In his warning, Ahmed Abu Risha stressed the readiness of Anbar’s clans to defend themselves.

Video footage circulated on social media yesterday showed what were alleged to be “heavily armed forces” belonging to the Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades faction heading towards Anbar.

“This mobilisation is unjustified and unacceptable,” said Abu Risha. “It seems that [the militias] are hiding something.”

He added that the PMF are in place without coordination with the security services in Anbar or the operations command. “We see that there is an intention to repeat incidents such as kidnapping innocent people. The Anbar clans are committed to allow no action that affects the security of the province and will not stand idly by in the face of any suspicious move.”

Abu Risha pointed out that he holds the head of the PMF, Falih Al-Fayyad, responsible for any “tampering or destabilisation of the security and stability of Anbar and its citizens.”

Sunni politicians accuse the Shia militias of kidnapping about 12,000 Sunni citizens in the Salah Al-Din and Anbar governorates during fierce fighting between Iraqi forces and Daesh terrorists from 2014 to 2017. The fate of the kidnap victims is still unknown.

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