ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - Prominent Iraqi Sunni politician Osama Nujaifi said Monday that various Sunni militias would take part in an anticipated battle to liberate the Iraqi city of Mosul from Islamic State (ISIS) control, claiming there was no need for Shiite participation.
His office said that, in a meeting with French ambassador to Iraq Marc Barety, Nujaifi said that the Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi would not be the only paramilitary force taking part in the fight.
He said that, besides the Iraqi army, the Sunni Hashd al-Watani and Kurdish Peshmerga will be part of the force to liberate Mosul.
"Osama Nujaifi, head of the (Sunni) Mutahidun coalition faction in the Iraqi parliament discussed bilateral relations between (Iraq and France), security developments in Iraq and the fight against ISIS with the French ambassador to Iraq Marc Barety," Nujaifi's office said in a statement.
According to the announcement, Nujaifi explained to the French envoy that the battle for Mosul will begin after Anbar province is entirely controlled by Iraqi forces.
He cautioned against allowing the Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi to take part in the battle for Mosul.
“The nature of the battle for Mosul does not require us to let the Hashd al-Shaabi do its part in this battle, because ISIS will use this participation against us as a sectarian card," Nujaifi claimed.
He said the Hashd al- Watani militia consists of all elements from Mosul, and are expected to play the crucial role in the battle, in spite of the participation of the US-led coalition, the Peshmerga and the Iraqi army.
Nujaifi stressed that cooperation between Mosul residents and Iraqi forces is essential to help facilitate the recapture of the city.
Meanwhile, Iraq’s defense ministry said earlier this week that it would deploy some 4,500 soldiers to the Makhmour front in preparation for the long-anticipated offensive against ISIS in Mosul.