ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Peshmerga forces consider the formal inclusion of the Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militias into Iraq’s security forces a violation of the country’s constitution, a Kurdish forces spokesperson said on Saturday.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi last week issued a decree formalizing the inclusion of the Hashd al-Shaabi into the country’s security forces, awarding them the same privileges as the army.
According to the decree, the Shia militia fighters, also known as the Popular Mobilization Units (PMF), heavily financed and trained by Iran, will be granted many of the same rights as those in the Iraqi army.
“This move is a flagrant violation of the Iraqi Constitution by the central government,” Peshmerga Ministry Spokesperson Halgurd Hikmat told Kurdistan 24.
“Sooner or later, Baghdad needs to abide by and implement all the provisions of the constitution agreed upon by the people and components of Iraq,” he added.
According to Abadi’s decree, militia members would also receive comparable salaries to those in the country’s military operating under the Iraqi Defense Ministry, be bound by the rules and laws of military service in Iraq and be accepted in military institutes and colleges.
Despite the fact Peshmerga forces, according to the Iraqi Constitution, are part of the Iraqi defense system, Baghdad does not provide any assistance regarding funding, training, weapons, and military equipment.
Moreover, the Kurdish forces have been a central part of the campaign against the Islamic State (IS) in the country, sacrificing their lives to protect the world from the extremist group.
The Hashd al-Shaabi was formed after top Iraqi cleric Ali al-Sistani issued a fatwa in late 2014 to protect Shia shrines from IS attacks in central and southern Iraq. The PMF is comprised of over 50 militia groups, mostly backed by Iran.