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US plan to blacklist Iraqi Badr Organization as terrorist meant to protect Israel: Official

This file photo shows members of the Badr Organization during a protest in Baghdad, Iraq. (Photo by The Associated Press)

A senior member of the Badr Organization, whose group is a part of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU), also known by their Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, has slammed Washington’s attempts to classify his organization as terrorist, stressing that such measures are meant to protect the Israeli regime.

“We do not care about the White House’s efforts to place the Badr Organization on the [so-called] US terror blacklist. Badr is an organization that has its own supporters and institutions. It is represented by a parliamentary faction and has more than 50 legislators in Fatah (Conquest) Alliance,” Qusay al-Anbari, a spokesman for the organization, told Arabic-language al-Ahad news agency on Saturday.

He added, “Badr Organization is a part of the Iraqi political system and nation, and will not be affected by such evil plots. Everyone knows that the United States is working to protect the Zionist regime through various means, and is fighting resistance groups to prevent them from defending Palestine and the Arab world.”

The remarks come as the US Congress is seeking to enact a new legislation that would designate the Badr Organization as a terror group, according to a copy of the bill obtained exclusively by the Washington Free Beacon newspaper.

The newspaper said that a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Representative Joe Wilson, is leading such efforts.

Back on October 18, a political adviser to Iraqi officials and leading member of the State of Law Coalition said the United States is trying to eradicate Hashd al-Sha'abi by force and has even devised an action plan for such a purpose.

Saad al-Muttalibi told Arabic-language al-Nujaba television network in an interview at the time that not only had Iraqi authorities been informed of the plan, but also some political factions.

Muttalibi noted that a number of US state institutions have come to the conclusion that Hashd al-Sha’abi can only be removed from Iraq’s arena by military force.

He went on to say that Washington intends to assassinate some high-ranking Hashd al-Sha’abi commanders and instigate clashes with other Iraqi armed forces as part of preparation for the total annihilation of the PMU.

Hashd al-Sh’abai fighters have played a major role in the liberation of Daesh-held areas to the south, northeast and north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, ever since the terrorists launched an offensive in the country in June 2014.

Back in November 2016, the Iraqi parliament approved a law giving full legal status to the fighters. It recognized the PMU as part of the national armed forces, placed the forces under the command of the prime minister, and granted them the right to receive salaries and pensions like the regular army and police forces.

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 at the time, Lieutenant General Robert P. White, warned that such a campaign could be bloody and counterproductive.

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