A commander of the popular forces battling ISIL in Iraq has hailed Iran’s support for the fight against the Takfiri terrorists, saying that the Islamic Republic has been the only country standing by the Iraqis in the battle.
“The role of Iran is very important. If it was not for the stance of Iran, Baghdad would be in danger,” Hadi al-Ameri, who is the secretary general of Iraq’s Badr Organization, told Press TV in an exclusive interview.
The commander, who also serves as the current transportation minister of Iraq, added that Iran is “the only country” that has supported the Iraqis since ISIL began hostilities last year.
Ameri also lashed out at the United States over its claims that the battle in Iraq is of “sectarian” nature.
President Barack Obama of the United States has said that "we are not entering this battle," Ameri stated, adding that each time Baghdad has asked for help from Washington, the US officials have made excuses such as lack of a military base in Iraq.
The Iraqi commander said the United States claims it is a "strategic ally" of Iraq, but it has failed to deliver the finances it has promised to the Iraqi government for fighting the terrorists.
“The Americans stood with us, but in a shy way,” Ameri said, arguing that Washington only began to grasp the real threat of ISIL when the terrorists reached the outskirts of Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan region.
Ameri also touched upon the ongoing operation by the Iraqi army to purge the western province of Anbar from ISIL, saying that the offensive would be facilitated if the popular mobilization forces could participate in the operation.
If “the roads are opened to the volunteer forces,” the liberation of Anbar would be much easier than the operation conducted in Salahuddin Province, north of Baghdad, which led to the liberation of the provincial capital, Tikrit, Ameri said.
He criticized some Iraqi politicians for their continued mudslinging about the popular forces, and called for an end to political disputes in the parliament on how the government should fight ISIL.
Ameri said the popular forces would continue fighting the terrorists in Anbar and elsewhere in Iraq as a legitimate, moral and national mission.
“We of course do not hear those politicians. Our mission is to liberate the land and the people. If they can liberate them they had better do something,” Ameri said.
The ISIL terrorists are currently in control of some parts of northern and western Iraq. Mosul, one of Iraq’s major cities, is still held by the terrorist group, which began its offensive in June 2014.