ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – An Iraqi official on Wednesday claimed the US Army had taken precautionary measures at its bases in Iraq after continuous threats by the Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi militias against American military presence in the country.
An official from the Secretariat of the Iraq Council of Ministers, speaking to al-Arabi al-Jadeed on condition of anonymity, claimed the US had taken the threats by some of the Hashd al-Shaabi factions seriously.
The Iraqi official said the US and other coalition member states with troops in Iraq have created “no-man zones” around their bases and have informed the Iraqi government that Hashd al-Shaabi forces are not permitted “within 20 kilometers” of those areas.
The alleged US measures come at a time when several Iranian-backed Shia militias have recently increased their threatening rhetoric against America’s military presence in Iraq.
Several Shia militias under the umbrella of the Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi, including Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Hezbollah Battalion, and Al-Badr Brigade have recently expressed their opposition to the presence of US troops in Iraq, vowing to target them if they remain in the country.
Niyazi Mimaroglu, a Shia Turkmen MP, who is a member of the security and defense parliamentary committee, said the US troops are not entitled to take such measures as the Hashd al-Shaabi is an official institution within the Iraqi government.
“The US continues to interfere in the internal matters of Iraq and is not comfortable with the Hashd al-Shaabi’s presence, especially after it decided to participate in the elections,” the Iraqi MP noted.
Meanwhile, in an interview with German media this week, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq in 2011 was a historic mistake.
Abadi also stated that although US combat forces on the ground are not needed, Iraq still requires US advisers to train its security forces.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany