Iraq will remain part of 'axis of resistance' despite foreign plots: Nujaba leader
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Iraq will remain part of 'axis of resistance' despite foreign plots: Nujaba leader

“Our enemies want Iraq to be an apathetic society and not react to what is happening in our region. This goes against our beliefs," said al-Kaabi. Al-Kaabi stressed that based on Islamic beliefs, Iraq can’t be separated from the greater Muslim world and the regional "resistance axis". “Major organizations affiliated with the Zionists, the United States and the Saudis are managing a media war against the resistance and are seeking to target our youth and our moral values,” he added. The popular resistance force chief added that it was unfortunate that some of “Iraq’s elite and leaders” had been influenced by this foreign-backed trend. “If our positions are based on the enemy’s media objectives, this will surely deviate us,” he said. The Harakat al-Nujaba leader made the statements as the United States has recently ratcheted up pressure seeking to hamper efforts of a unified front countering foreign intervention and terrorism in the region. Last week, during an unannounced visit to the Iraqi capital Baghdad, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the Iraqi government to restrain the country’s popular mobilization and anti-terror forces, saying that they posed a “threat” to US interests. Washington has also notified Iraqi officials that US may even directly attack the groups without coordinating with Baghdad if it perceived any threat. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi dismissed the comments, saying that Iraq had not observed “movements that constitute a threat to any side.”  Washington has commonly described the popular Iraqi forces as being “Iran-backed proxies”, despite being formally funded and incorporated into Iraq’s security forces. Groups such as the Harakat al-Nujaba are part of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), a combination of some 40 groups formed shortly after the emergence of the Daesh terrorist group in Iraq in 2014. Since the early days of the Daesh’s reign of terror, the PMU-aligned forces have played a major role in reinforcing the Iraqi army, which had suffered heavy setbacks in the face of initial lightning advances of the terrorists. Daesh has currently been effectively vanquished in Iraq and Syria, with only few remaining cells operating in isolated desert areas. Daesh’s demise in the past years has prompted many Iraqi politicians to question the US’ continued military presence in the country which was initially permitted under the pretext of supporting and training Iraqi forces against the terrorists. Concerns have also been raised about Washington's direct or indirect support for the terrorist group in the past years. Numerous accounts have emerged alleging US forces conducting airlifts, weapon airdrops and aerial support for the terror group, especially as its strength gradually diminished in the region. Iraqi figures have also expressed concern that the US seeks to use the country’s territory to exert pressure on Iran. Trump has in the past described the US’ mission in Iraq as a bid to “watch Iran”, drawing the condemnation of Iraqi figures from across the country’s varying political landscape and leading to calls to ban US forces from the country. On Saturday, the Iraqi parliament was set to vote on a draft bill that will effectively ban US military presence in Iraq.

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