President Macron says he told PM Abadi Shiite militia must be disbanded
French President Emmanuel Macron has said that he told the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on October 5 that the Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi and other militias in Iraq must be disbanded.
Macron made the revelation at a joint press conference with the KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani in Paris on Saturday afternoon.
“When Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited Paris, we declared that all the militias of the Iraqi government must be disbanded and that no militia must stay including the Hashd al-Shaabi,” Macron said, making reference to PM Abadi’s visit to France, according to the official Kurdish translation.
An English translation provided at the press conference said that PM Abadi “committed to” the fact that the militias must gradually be demilitarized, drop their arms and “return home.”
He said his call to disband the Iraqi militias is part of a list of terms that he set out for the talks between the Iraqi and Kurdish governments.
In October, remarks by the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that called on Iranian militia within the Hashd al-Shaabi to “go home” was received by strong criticism of the Iraqi officials.
The office of the Iraqi Prime Minister stated then that the US does not have the right to tell Iraq what to do, adding that the Hahsd forces are “patriotic” fighters who are under the command of the Iraqi Prime Minister.
Iraqi forces supported by the Hashd al-Shaabi entered deadly clashes against the Kurdish Peshmerga for over a week in October when they advanced on Kurdish-held territories in the disputed or Kurdistani areas claimed by both Erbil and Baghdad including the oil-rich Kirkuk and Tuz Khurmatu.
While the KRG has criticized the Iraqi Security Forces of human rights violations, they have singled out the the Hashd forces for such violations, particularly in Tuz Khurmatu.
PM Barzani on Monday called for an investigation into the situation in the diverse town of Khurmatu that includes looting and bombing houses of mainly Kurdish people.