Abadi seeks alliance with Popular Mobilization Units based on his terms

Updated 13 January 2018
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Abadi seeks alliance with Popular Mobilization Units based on his terms

BAGHDAD: Negotiations between Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi and leaders of Shiite-dominated paramilitary troops to form an electoral alliance in the parliamentary and provincial election scheduled for May had not produced a final agreement on Friday, leaders involved in the talks told Arab News.
Gaining the support of the armed factions who fought Daesh alongside the government during the past three years is crucial for Abadi to gain a comfortable parliamentary majority to form the next government.
The negotiations, which started on Thursday, have been taking place in Baghdad between representatives of Abadi and leaders of the “Al-Fattah Alliance,” which includes the most powerful Shiite armed factions such as Badr Organization, Asaib Ahl Al-Haq, Kataib Huzballah and Jund Al-Imam in addition to the leaders of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq and the independents.
Abadi has been seeking to form the biggest electoral alliance along with “Al-Fattah,” which is headed by Hadi Al-Amiri, the commander of Badr Organization, while the leaders of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) have been looking for protection.
“An alliance with Abadi is in the interest of both parties (Abadi and the PMU),” a senior PMU commander said on condition of anonymity to Arab News.
“The prime minister is the only one who can threaten the existence of us (the PMU). Legally he (the prime minister) is authorized to go after any of us and represents a source of concern.
“If he will be with us, this means we will be protected,” the commander said.
The negotiation teams of both sides on Friday had agreed on several issues, but who will head the final coalition and who will lead the electoral list in Baghdad are topics “still under negotiation,” leaders involved in the talks told Arab News.
“We are looking to form the biggest bloc in the next parliament, so Abadi is the best choice to achieve this,” Yazin Al-Joubori, one of the PMU commanders, told Arab News.
“The problem is that Abadi insists on being the head of the (final) coalition and the leader of the electoral list in Baghdad while (Hadi) Al-Amiri insists on giving him just one of them,” Al-Joubori said.
The guarantees which Abadi has to present to the PMU leaders also was one of the biggest obstacles as his negotiation team insists on “not giving any promises or concessions.” By the end of Friday’s meetings, no final agreement was made, leaders involved in the talks said.
“Abadi is well aware that he has a very strong card now and knows that the PMU factions need him, so he is negotiating from a position of strength,” a Shiite politician involved in the talks told Arab News on condition of anonymity.
“In all cases, this alliance will be made, but (looks like) it will be according to Abadi’s conditions.
“We have presented so many concessions, while he has refused to give us anything (in return).
“There is no other strong alternative (than Abadi). We need him so we have to go with him,” the leader said.


Militants kill 10 Iran Guards at Iraqi border post: Agency

Updated 4 min 37 sec ago
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Militants kill 10 Iran Guards at Iraqi border post: Agency

  • The agency quoted a Revolutionary Guards statement as saying that several of the attacking "terrorists" were also killed in the fighting in which a munitions depot was blown up
  • There is little coordination between Iranian and Iraqi forces over security of the porous border that has also been used by Daesh to enter Iran

DUBAI: Militants killed 10 Iranian Revolutionary Guards in an attack on a post on the Iraqi border on Saturday, Iran's semi-official Tasnim news agency reported, the latest deadly clash in an area where armed opposition Kurdish groups are active.
The agency quoted a Revolutionary Guards statement as saying that several of the attacking "terrorists" were also killed in the fighting in which a munitions depot was blown up.
Provincial security official Hosein Khosheqbal told state television that 11 members of the Guards' voluntary Basij forces were killed in the overnight violence in the Marivan area, which he blamed on the Kurdish armed opposition group PJAK.
"The latest news is that the Basij and Guards forces are in hot pursuit of the attackers," Khosheqbal said.
The Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) -- an outlawed group that seeks self-governance for Iran's Kurds and has links to Turkey's militant Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) -- operates in the border area, along with other armed Kurdish groups based in northern Iraq.
Earlier this month, the Revolutionary Guards said they had killed three militants in a security operation near the border with Iraq, and nine militants were reported killed by the Guards last month further north on the border.
There is little coordination between Iranian and Iraqi forces over security of the porous border that has also been used by Daesh to enter Iran.
Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said on Tuesday that security forces in southwest Iran arrested four suspected Daesh operatives who were planning attacks.
In June 2017, Daesh militants carried out coordinated attacks at the parliament building in Tehran and the mausoleum of Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini south of the capital, killing at least 18 people.