Karim Nuri, spokesperson for the Shiite militia Hashd al-Shaabi. Photo: Rudaw video
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—The spokesperson for the powerful Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi militia said they do not need foreign ground forces for the anticipated Mosul operation, adding that he is confident Turkish troops will not participate in the operation.
Karim Nuri, the spokesperson for the Shiite militia Hashd al-Shaabi, told Rudaw in a televised interview that they have been taken by surprise by Saudi and Turkish rhetoric regarding Mosul.
“We do not need Saudi soldiers, or Turkish soldiers, not even Iranian soldiers or American soldiers. We are able to defeat Daesh on our own, alone. What is the use of Saudi, Turkish, or Iranian soldiers on the ground? We do not need them,” Nuri declared.
On Thursday, the foreign ministers of Turkey and Saudi Arabia, attending a meeting between Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council, warned of possible demographic changes in Mosul following the city’s liberation citing the nature of forces expected to take part in the military operation.
They claimed that should the Shiite militia enter the predominantly Sunni city, it would result in sectarian strife and possibly a demographic shift.
Turkey, which has a small force in northern Iraq’s Bashiqa camp where they have been training local forces, has said it will participate in the military offensive.
Nuri dismissed their assertion and said Turkish troops “will not leave Bashiqa.”
“I am confident that the Turks will not take part in any battle. But there may be four regiments supported by Turkey, the United States and the dynasty of the Nujaifis to hold the ground after the liberation,” he said, making reference to the local leaders former Nineveh governor Atheel al-Nujaifi and former Iraqi speaker Osama Nujaifi. “This is expected.”
Nuri is also confident that the liberating forces will meet little resistance from ISIS because the militant group is in its “worst condition.” But he worries that any delay would be considered a victory for the Islamic State.
He added that the Mosul operation will not be complete without the liberation of Hawija, south of Kirkuk. And for that, both Kurdish and Shiite forces will cooperate, he said, as they have successfully done in other parts of the country.