A member of the Iraqi parliament's security and defense committee has warned against the ulterior objectives behind redeployment of US troops to various military sites across the Arab country, saying Washington is drawing up plans to target commanders of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), better known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi.
“The withdrawal of US forces from a number of military bases does not come in line with the parliamentary resolution calling on the government to push out foreign troops from the country. It is rather part of redeployment plans for American forces inside Iraq,” Karim al-Muhammadawi told Arabic-language al-Masalah news agency in an exclusive interview on Monday.
He added, “The real intention behind the redeployment of US soldiers in Iraq remains unknown. But it is assumed to be related to the deployment of the forces to fortified bases, especially after the installation of Patriot missile systems there. The US is purportedly seeking to launch precision strikes against Hashd al-Sha’abi positions and intends to assassinate commanders associated with them.”
Muhammadawi further highlighted that the US has moved its troops to fortified bases in Iraq amid considerable concerns over potential public uproar if any Hashd al-Sha’abi commander targeted.
“What has happened lately could not be described as troop withdrawal. It could be simply defined as a military tactic,” the Iraqi legislator pointed out.
On March 27, the New York Times reported that the Pentagon had ordered a secret directive, which called on US military commanders to prepare a campaign against Kata'ib Hezbollah, which is part of Hashd al-Sha’abi.
But the United States’ top commander in Iraq has warned that such a campaign could be bloody and counterproductive.
Lieutenant General Robert P. White wrote in a blunt memo that a new military campaign would also require that thousands more American troops be sent to Iraq and divert resources from the so-called fight against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
Iraqi lawmakers unanimously approved a bill on January 5, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country following the assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of Hashd al-Sha’abi, and their companions in a US airstrike authorized by President Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport two days earlier.
Later on January 9, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, the former Iraqi prime minister, called on the United States to dispatch a delegation to Baghdad tasked with formulating a mechanism for the move.
The 78-year-old politician said Iraq rejects any violation of its sovereignty, particularly the US military's violation of Iraqi airspace in the assassination airstrike.