Baghdad sees Macron call to disband all militias as interference in Iraqi affairs

French President Emmanuel Macron (R) addresses a joint press conference with Regional Kurdistan Government Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani (2R) and Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani (L) at the Elysee Palace following a meeting in Paris on December 2, 2017. (AFP / POOL / ETIENNE LAURENT)
Updated 03 December 2017
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Baghdad sees Macron call to disband all militias as interference in Iraqi affairs

BAGHDAD: French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday called on Iraq to disband all militias, including the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).
“It’s essential that there’s a gradual demilitarization, particularly of the PMU... and that all militias be gradually dismantled,” he said at 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 Kurds in Kirkuk and nearby disputed areas in the wake of their independence referendum in September.
Baghdad said Macron was interfering in Iraq’s internal affairs, and called for respect for the country’s sovereignty.
“Iraq’s internal affairs are run by 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 concerning the administration of Iraq-related issues and internal affairs must be respected.” He added: “Iraq looks forward to the world’s understanding of the importance of respecting its sovereignty.”
Senior Shiite commander Kareem Al-Nuri told Arab News: “Macron’s statements are a blatant interference in Iraqi affairs. He has no right to tell us what to do.”
He added: “Militias should be dismantled, but the PMU isn’t a militia. Westerners should understand that the PMU has become a legitimate force and is protected by law.”
Pressuring Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi to dissolve it “won’t work,” Al-Nuri said. “Abadi has no authority to dismantle the PMU. This is the authority of the Parliament.”
The PMU was formed after the fall of almost a third of Iraq to Daesh in June 2014. Shiite militia fighters, some backed by Iran, represent the backbone of the PMU, but it also includes tens of thousands of Sunni, Turkmen, Yazidi, Christian and Shabak volunteers.
Iraq’s Parliament in November 2016 passed a law that considers the PMU part of the regular armed forces, under the full authority of the commander in chief.


Turkey, Iran carried out joint operation against Kurdish militants

Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, above, said the operations will be on the eastern Turkish border. (AFP/File)
Updated 46 min 7 sec ago
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Turkey, Iran carried out joint operation against Kurdish militants

  • Turkish Interior Minister said they will reveal the results of the operation
  • Turkish military carried out a number of arrests of alleged PKK members in Turkey

ANKARA: Turkey and Iran carried out a joint operation against militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) on Monday, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said according to state-owned media.
“We started carrying out an operation with Iran against the PKK on our eastern border this morning (and) will announce the result,” news agency Anadolu quoted Solyu as saying. State broadcaster TRT Haber also cited him commenting on the operation.
Turkey’s military regularly carries out air strikes against PKK militants in northern Iraq and has carried out operations to arrest alleged members of the group in Turkey. The PKK is deemed a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union.