ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – As protracted negotiations to form Iraq's next government continue, the head of a prominent militia and political coalition with strong ties to Iran said on Tuesday that he would topple any prime minister "chosen" by the US.
Hadi al-Amiri, one of the leading candidates for prime minister, made the comments during a press conference in reference to recent meetings about government formation between US and Iraqi officials, as reported by SNG News.
“We will not allow you to interfere in the political affairs of Iraq and do not accept the imposition of names [by the US] for the prime minister," he said.
“If you impose any name on us, then I will overthrow his government within two months.”
He added that, after he made the same comments in a previous meeting with US Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman and US Presidential Special Envoy Brett McGurk, he received a call from Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in which an argument ensued. Abadi is one of Amiri's main rivals vying for the top position in the Iraqi government, along with former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Amiri leads the political coalition that came in second in Iraq's May 12 national elections, according to initial disputed results, and also leads the Iranian-backed Badr Organization, the largest component of the Hashd al-Saabi (PMF) militias.
He has often made brash anti-US statements and has proclaimed his affection for Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Qassem Suleimani, who a US general described on Wednesday as the cause for Iran's Quds Forces being the "principal actor orchestrating destabilizing activities" in the Middle East.
“Are we entitled to choose a policeman in Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, or America?” asked Amiri, during the press conference. "If the answer is no, then why should we accept a prime minister chosen by them?”
“If I become Prime Minister, I will work on the government to save the country and form a construction and services council," he said, adding that it would be similar to “the previous regime’s" Military Manufacturing Body.
He appeared to be indicating that he would focus on domestic production to decrease Iraq's reliance on foreign products, a point consistent with his hardline stance on foreign influence, Iran notwithstanding.
Editing by John J. Catherine