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Iraq's Nujaba says US military presence 'absurd', urges govt. to act

The official spokesman for Iraq’s Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba movement, Nasr al-Shammari, speaks in an exclusive interview with Press TV broadcast on July 3, 2021.

The official spokesman for Iraq’s Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba movement, which is part of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) or Hashd al-Sha’abi, has denounced the recent deadly US airstrikes on Iraqi resistance groups on the Iraq-Syria border, stressing that the Baghdad government must show its sovereignty and full ability to ensure Iraq’s national security and stability.

Nasr al-Shammari told Press TV in an exclusive interview that United States is in fact a major violator of the international law and treaties, and it is not the first time that American troops have committed an act of aggression agaisnt the Iraqi army and even unarmed civilians of the Arab country.

“They have a bleak record of such violations and crimes. Any change in the US administration is not going to lead to any change in their policies. Nothing actually alters with the change of administrations,” he pointed out.

Shammari said, “The US has killed our forces in cold blood, and has violated our sovereignty by attacking them inside our own soil. This is unacceptable. Iraq now needs to show it is a sovereign government, and has the ability to guarantee its own security and stability.”

US warplanes attacked three targets purportedly belonging to Iraqi resistance groups along the border between Iraq and Syria in the early hours of Monday.

Sabereen News, a Telegram news channel associated with Hashd al-Sha’abi, reported that four Iraqi fighters had been killed in the attack on the headquarters of the 14th Brigade of the PMU.

Iraqi resistance factions, in a statement issued on Monday, pledged to “avenge the blood of our righteous martyrs and wreak vengeance on the perpetrators of this heinous crime”. They also warned the US against repeating its aggression.

Later on Monday, Reuters news agency reported that several rockets had hit an illegal base for American occupation forces in the eastern Syrian province of Dayr al-Zawr. 

The report named the exact whereabouts of the incident as the proximity of Syria’s Omar oilfield, which is controlled by the US-backed SDF militant group.

CNN said some of the missiles from the Monday incident had landed near US troops.

Russian news website Sputnik reported that several American forces and allied militants from the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces were injured in the strike.

Shammari also said the United States and its region allies have on occasions sought to sow division among Iraqi resistance movements and the Baghdad government, but have failed each time.

“What happened several days ago showed that different political parties and factions inside Iraq have taken a unanimous approach against the United States. Right now, different groups and resistance factions inside Iraq are helping each other militarily in order to stand against extra-territorial forces." 

Shammari went on to say that American occupation forces are now trying to take matters into their own hands, and are attempting to deal blows to Iraqi resistance groups.

“Thanks God, the Iraqi nation and the Iraqi army are united and have taken a similar stand against the United States,” he said.

“The Baghdad government now needs to take a real stance, and summon the American ambassador [Matthew H. Tueller] in a show of protest against this act of aggression against the Iraqi sovereignty,” Shammari commented.

The spokesman for the al-Nujaba movement emphasized that Hashd al-Sha’abi has frequently urged US occupation troops to withdraw, and stated that foreign troops can neither talk about security and stability of Iraq nor decide its future since their presence in the country is illegal and unlawful.

“What American troops have targeted are resistance groups, who support the decisions and thoughts of the Iraqi people,” Shammari said.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Shammari said Hashd al-Sha’abi is trying to acquire sophisticated military hardware in order to defend Iraq and beef up its deterrence.

“The reasons given for the continued presence of US military forces in Iraq are absurd… They (Americans) are the creators of terrorists. US officials have time and again admitted to the fact that they were behind the creation of Deash terrorist group. Video footages have even shown American forces supporting and training these terrorists,” the Nujaba movement’s spokesman said.

“The Iraqi army and resistance factions operating under the command of Hashd al-Sha’abi are now standing together to fight Daesh terrorists. Not only are they fighting Daesh terrorists, but they also are countering future threats that American forces might pose,” Shammari added.

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