Mahmoud Sangawi speaking in Halabja. Photo: Rudaw screenshot
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A Peshmerga commander accused the Shiite militia of making plans to attack Kurds after the war with the Islamic State (ISIS), an allegation swiftly denied by a militia spokesperson.
“Those Shiites that were loved by us are now making plans on how to attack us after Daesh [ISIS],” said Mahmoud Sangawi, a Peshmerga commander and senior official of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), speaking in Halabja on Tuesday.
Sangawi based his accusation on a statement from a Shiite militiaman named Jamal, a member of the Khorasani militia group in Jalwala, who Sangawi met. “I am proud to come and fight you and be killed after Daesh [ISIS],” Sangawi quoted the Shiite militiaman.
Sangawi who is commander of the Peshmerga forces on the Garmaser front in Diyala province urged Kurds to unite in the face of this threat.
“I ask all the political factions, for sake of the blood of the Halabja martyrs, for the sake of the martyrs of the Halabja chemical attack, for sake of the blood of our nation’s martyrs in all four parts of Kurdistan,” he said, “let’s unite, because our nation is under threat, and the big war is coming after Daesh.”
A spokesperson for the Shiite militia, known as the Hash al-Shaabi, dismissed the accusations and said that Shiites are not a threat to the Kurds. “Those words are all imagination and have no basis,” Karim Nouri told Rudaw.
“Shiites are not a threat to Kurds and Hashd al-Shaabi fights only ISIS and other terrorist groups,” Nouri said adding that Sangawi’s accusations do not deserve a response.
Hashd al-Shaabi is the defender of “Iraqi sovereignty and its unity,” he declared, and it will not fight any other group except ISIS.
Kurdish Peshmerga and Shiite militia forces have clashed several times in Kirkuk’s southern ethnically-mixed city of Khurmatu in recent months. Several people from both sides were killed in the confrontations.