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We support political solution to ongoing stalemate: Iraq’s PMU chief

Falih al-Fayyadh, Chairman of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), also known as Hashd al-Sha'abi (File photo via Twitter)

The chairman of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), known in Arabic as Hashd al-Sha’abi, says the anti-terror group supports a political solution to the crisis in the Arab country.

The PMU advises all political groups to settle their differences via dialogue and interaction through legal channels, Lebanon’s Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network quoted Falih al-Fayyadh as saying during a press conference in the capital Baghdad on Monday evening.

“Hashd al-Sha’abi pledges to the Iraqi nation that it will maintain the political process through legal institutions and underlines the need to protect and preserve democratic institutions in the country,” al-Fayyadh said.

He added that all major political groups in Iraq must abide by the constitution and accept the results of the elections. 

Fayyadh also called for calm and restraint among all factions for the good of Iraq, stating that the PMU reiterates its deep commitment to a political process and transfer of power through the ballot box.

‘Weapons no solution to political crisis’

Moreover, leader of the Fatah (Conquest) Alliance in Iraq’s parliament, Hadi al-Amiri, called on people to exercise maximum self-restraint, stop using weapons, and resolve their existing problems through dialogue and negotiations.

“The use of weapons cannot resolve the ongoing crisis. There is no solution other than dialogue and understanding among our Iraqi brethren,” Amiri, who is also the head and secretary general of the Badr Organization, said.

Veteran Kurdish leader urges calm

Separately, senior Kurdish politician Masoud Barzani has called for restraint, urging all parties “not to resort to the language of weapons and violence in resolving conflicts.”

Barzani, the former president of northern Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region and the head of the governing Kurdistan Democratic Party, also called on all sides to “think about solutions that bring good to the Iraqi people and take into consideration the general interest of the people and the country.”

The Commission of Media & Communications (CMC) in Iraq has also called on all news agencies and media outlets to “avoid broadcasting false news and rumors.”

It called on them to “ensure accuracy and not take biased positions that contradict media broadcasting laws and principles.”

The commission also stressed that “Iraqi outlets should refrain from publishing materials that incite violence and hatred, and should not draw on the discourse that would contribute to further escalation of the status quo.”

According to Iraqi medical sources, at least 30 people were killed during the clashes in Baghdad’s Green Zone.

The sources said 700 people were wounded, including 110 members of the security forces.

The violence erupted on Monday as prominent Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced that he is quitting political life and closing his political offices amid a deepening political stalemate that has left the Arab country without a new government since last October’s parliamentary elections.

“I’ve decided not to meddle in political affairs. I, therefore, announce now my definitive retirement,” Sadr wrote in an Arabic post published on his Twitter account.

In his statement, Sadr also attacked his political opponents and said they had failed to heed his calls for reform.

The statement comes as many of Sadr’s supporters have been participating in a sit-in outside the Iraqi parliament since the end of July.

Earlier, the top judicial body said it did not have sufficient authority to dissolve the country’s parliament, urging all parties to refrain from getting the judiciary involved in political rivalries.

Sadr had demanded the dissolution of parliament and early elections. He had also called on his supporters to continue the sit-in inside the parliament until his demands were met.

Sadr’s bloc emerged from elections in October as the biggest parliamentary faction, but was still far short of a majority, causing the longest political vacuum in the country since the 2003 devastating invasion of the Arab country led by the United States.

In June, all 73 legislators of the bloc quit their seats in a move seen as an attempt to pressure political rivals into fast-tracking the formation of a government.

According to Iraqi laws, if any seat in parliament becomes vacant, the candidate who obtains the second-highest number of votes in their electoral district replaces them.

This means that many of the seats vacated by Sadrists will therefore be filled by member parties of the Coordination Framework Alliance, such as former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law and the Fatah Alliance, which is the political wing of the PMU.

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