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Rudaw

Iraq

Iraq's Hashd forces reject call to come under state control

By Rudaw 5/8/2017
Members of the Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi. Photo: Hashd al-Shaabi media office.
Members of the Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi. Photo: Hashd al-Shaabi media office.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A spokesperson for Iraq's Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi rejected a call by firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Saturday who said that the Hashd forces must come under state control and be incorporated into the regular army.

“The Hashd al-Shaabi should function under the command of the state,” Sadr said in a video address to demonstrators who had gathered at Baghdad’s Tahrir Square at the cleric’s call. “And weapons should be in the hands of the state too.”

In response to Sadr's call, Ahmed al-Assadi, spokesperson of the Shiite paramilitary said the Hashd will not be dismantled as it is a main part of the Iraqi armed forces.

Last December, Iraq’s president signed into law a bill that was passed by the parliament recognizing the Shiite paramilitary as an official force with similar rights as the regular army.

Assadi also explained that only the Iraqi parliament is allowed to incorporate the Hashd into the Iraqi army or issue any decress about the group.

Many Sunni MPs and leaders have opposed the existence of the armed group and complained that it is replacing the Iraqi army and has conducted abuses against Sunni civilians in Anbar and Salahaddin.
 
The estimated 100,000-strong Hashd al-Shaabi participated in the Mosul offensive, clearing ISIS from a large swathe of territory west of the city, including some areas of Shingal, reaching the Syrian border.

The Hashd al-Shaabi was formed upon a call by Iraq’s grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in the summer of 2014 when ISIS captured several Iraqi provinces and he urged civilians to take up arms and fight.

Last week, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is also commander of the armed forces, announced that the force will take part in the offensive to retake the largely Turkmen town of Tal Afar.

Abadi had earlier said the Hashd is a “neutral institution and will stay within the framework of the Iraqi state.”

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Publish Me Fam | 5/8/2017
What a dirty game you play Rudaw... Haashd as PM Abadi said yesterday is exclusively under Iraqi gov control, stop spreading this kind of info, you're making me lose the respect I have for you.
Halgurd | 5/8/2017
No one is surprised, many of them take orders from Iran. Abadi dugg his own (and Iraqs) grave when he recognized these paramilitary militias as a official force last year.
Non kurd | 6/8/2017
sistani was not elected to lead Iraq so by what authority does he raise an army which operates independent of the government? This is a terrorist outfit supported by Iranian mullahs and their paid puppets to undermine the authority of the Iraqi central government and run amok without any respect for laws. Be honest... Democracy failed in Iraq. Religious Sectarisnism prevailed over nationalism. It's time for the west to cut their losses. Stop giving money and weapons to baghdad. Only help Kurdistan. let the idiots who threw in their lot with their Iranian mullah terrorist reap what they sowed. They can enjoy living in a poor medieval religious dictatorship but not with free money and weapons from the US.
Kurdo | 6/8/2017
The shia have a brotherhood that iraqi kurds doesnt.
FAUthman | 6/8/2017
But they were heroes defeating ISIS, that cant be denied, now they will do as they please. The good news is: the more chaos ensues in the rest of Iraq, the more seriously would the US consider Independence for Kurdistan as an alternative! It was James Jeffrey ex US amb. to Iraq (2010-2012) who said that!
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