Qais al-Khazali, the leader of the Shiite militia group Asaib Ahl al-Haq. Official photo
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—The Kurdish Peshmerga ministry of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has responded to the comments of a Shiite militia leader against the Kurds and described the group as a sectarian force with the blood of many Iraqis on its hands.
“The threats of this group and its leader against the Kurdistan Region is nothing new and their actions against the people of Iraq are known to all,” said a statement from the Peshmerga ministry in response to Qais al-Khazali, the leader of the Shiite militia group Asaib Ahl al-Haq.
The statement that described al-Khazali’s remarks as ‘filled with hostility”, adding: “You have beheaded hundreds of Iraqis based on ethnic or religious identity and you must be tried for these crimes.”
In an interview with a local Iraqi TV station this week, the militia leader said that the Kurds posed a threat that had to be dealt with after ISIS and that it was something that could not be achieved peacefully.
“After ISIS, Kurds are the greatest problem, especially Mr. Masoud Barzani. And solving the problems or peace with them is impossible.”
The Peshmerga response said that al-Khazali was welcome to try his luck with the Kurds.
“We also hope that Khazali’s remarks and his hostile stance only represent himself and his group and not that of the Hashd al-Shaabi.”
Hashd al-Shaabi was voted an official force under the supervision of the army by the Iraqi parliament last month.
The Kurdish presidency also condemned al-Khazali’s remarks this week, saying: “Surely al-Khazali and people like him who try to invade Kurdistan will not have a better future than ISIS,” said a statement from the spokesperson for the Kurdish presidency on Wednesday, adding that al-Khazali and his group are a lot weaker than ISIS.”
The office of the Kurdish president said in its statement that they hoped al-Khazali’s comments were only his personal views and that they did not reflect the official position of the Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi.