By Ibrahim Saleh
Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi on Thursday rejected calls by Nineveh’s provincial council to prohibit Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi ("Popular Mobilization") forces from taking part in an anticipated military operation aimed at retaking the northern city of Mosul from the Daesh terrorist group.
"Nobody can stop Iraqis from participating in the liberation of their land," al-Abadi asserted at a conference held in Iraq’s Anbar province.
Military actions, he went on to say, should not be based on narrow sectarian interests.
On Monday, Nineveh’s provincial council declared that the Hashd al-Shaabi -- an umbrella group of Shia militias -- should not be allowed to participate in the planned "liberation" of Mosul, Nineveh’s provincial capital.
Last month, al-Abadi told parliament that the Hashd al-Shaabi -- along with the Iraqi army, Kurdish Peshmerga forces and armed Sunni tribesmen -- would participate in the campaign to retake the city.
In mid-2014, Daesh overran Mosul -- defeating better-armed and numerically-superior Iraqi security forces -- before declaring a self-styled "caliphate" in parts of Iraq and Syria.