By Haydar Karaalp
Qais al-Khazali, leader of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq (affiliated with Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi), has called on Baghdad to mandate the group with protecting the Iraq-Syria border.
"Given the Hashd al-Shaabi’s past successes, the government should officially task it with protecting the Iraq-Syria border,” he said.
Noting that Iraq had yet to entirely eliminate the Daesh terrorist group’s presence in the country, al-Khazali asserted: "As long as Syria remains unstable, the Hashd al-Shaabi should maintain a presence at the border.”
Al-Khazali’s request has reportedly drawn fire from Arab tribes based in Mosul, the regional capital of Iraq’s northern Nineveh province.
Tribal spokesman Mezahim Ahmad al-Huwait warned that a Hashd al-Shaabi presence on the border could be potentially “risky”, adding that he had already notified U.S.-led coalition officials regarding al-Khazali’s request.
A largely Shia fighting force, the Hashd al-Shaabi was established in 2014 to fight Daesh, which had overrun much of Iraq -- including Mosul -- earlier the same year.
In 2017, the Hashd al-Shaabi was formally incorporated into the Iraqi armed forces.
Led by al-Khazali (who is known for having close links to Iran), the Asaib Ahl al-Haq is one of the Hashd al-Shaabi’s more militant factions.
*Ali Murat Alhas contributed to this report from AnkaraAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.