The Iraqi Foreign Ministry on Saturday slammed a US decision to backlist Falih al-Fayyad, the leader of the powerful Hashd Shaabi militia, or the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF).
“This decision came as an unacceptable surprise,” the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said it will follow up al-Fayyad’s blacklisting and other sanctions imposed against Iraqi figures with US authorities.
On Friday, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on al-Fayyad for his alleged connection to serious human rights abuses.
Washington said al-Fayyad was part of a crisis cell made up mostly of Hashd Al-Shaabi militia leaders in late 2019 to suppress Iraqi protests that began in October 2019, with the support of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Al-Fayyad is a prominent Shia leader, who had served as a national security adviser before being sacked by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. He now serves as the PMF head.
The PMF was formed by Iraqi Shia militias to confront the Daesh/ISIS terror group in Iraq in 2014 in cooperation with the Iraqi army. Several human rights groups, however, have accused the group of committing violations against Iraqi civilians during protests that erupted in late 2019 against deep-seated corruption.
*Ahmed Asmar 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.