Baghdad sees Macron’s call to dissolve all militias as interference in Iraqi affairs –

Baghdad sees Macron’s call to dissolve all militias as interference in Iraqi affairs


BAGHDAD: French President Emmanuel Macron called on Iraq on Saturday to dissolve all militias, including the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).
"It is essential that there be a gradual demilitarization, particularly of the PMU (…) and that all militias be gradually dismantled," he told a joint press conference in Paris with Nechirvan Barzani, prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). ).
The KRG has accused the PMU of committing abuses against the Kurds in Kirkuk and the disputed areas nearby in the wake of their independence referendum in September.
Baghdad said Macron was interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq and called for respect for the country's sovereignty.
"Iraq's internal affairs are in the hands of constitutional institutions," said government spokesman Saad Hadithi, adding that the PMU has "become part of the Iraqi security system."
He said: "The sovereign powers of the federal government with respect to the administration of matters related to Iraq and internal affairs must be respected." He added: "Iraq hopes that the world understands the importance of respecting its sovereignty."
High Shiite commander Kareem Al-Nuri told Arab News: "Macron's statements are flagrant interference in Iraqi affairs, he has no right to tell us what to do."
He added: "The militias should be dismantled, but the PMU is not a militia, Westerners should understand that the UGP has become a legitimate force and is protected by law."
Pressuring Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi to dissolve him "will not work," Al-Nuri said. "Abadi does not have the authority to dismantle the PMU, this is the authority of Parliament."
The PMU was formed after the fall of almost a third of Iraq to Daesh in June 2014. The Shiite militias, some backed by Iran, represent the backbone of the PMU, but also include tens of thousands of Sunnis, Turkmen, Yazidis and Christians. and volunteers from Shabak.
The Iraqi Parliament in November 2016 pbaded a law that considers the PMU as part of the regular armed forces, under the full authority of the commander-in-chief.

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