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Iraqi Media: Regional Lobby after Dissolution of Hashd Al-Shaabi

A regional lobby is pressuring the Iraqi government to weaken Hashd al-Shaabi (popular forces) and pave the ground for its dissolution, Iraqi media reports said on Monday.

Informed sources were quoted as saying by the Arabic-language al-Qad Press that a US, Saudi, UAE and Turkish lobby is pressuring the government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to dissolve Hashd al-Shaabi and other resistance groups in Iraq.

They added that the lobby has targeted Badr Organization, Kata’eb al-Hezbollah, Asa’eb al-Haq and al-Nujaba group for their assistance to the Syrian government against the terrorist groups.

This is while al-Abadi has several times opposed attempts to weaken Hashd al-Shaabi, warning that such a move would lead to the rise of the terrorist groups in Iraq again.

In relevant remarks on Friday, al-Abadi underlined his strong opposition to the withdrawal of Hashd al-Shaabi from large cities, noting that the danger of the ISIL terrorist group is still alive.

“Hashd al-Shaabi’s withdrawal from large cities should not be affected by political pressures because the ISIL ideology still exists despite being defeated and expelled from Iraq and therefore, we should continue war against it,” al-Abadi said.

He voiced opposition to the withdrawal of Hashd al-Shaabi forces from major cities and certain other regions in the current period of time, and said, “Evacuation of these regions will give the terrorist groups an opportunity to attack the Iraqi citizens.”

Al-Abadi said the government will stand against those who want to distort Hashd al-Shaabi’s face.

Also, in March, al-Abadi defended his decree to formally incorporate Hashd al-Shaabi forces into the Arab country’s security service, stressing that such a move would help establish security and stability.

Abadi stated that the integration of the volunteer forces, better known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Shaabi, “preserves the identity of security forces”.

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