To help terrorists in Iraq, US prevents PMU from running recon flights: Commander
An Iraqi commander says the United States prevents the Arab country’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) or Hashd al-Sha’abi counter-terrorism organization from conducting reconnaissance drone flights against terrorists in the Iraqi skies.
Qasim al-Kariti, Commander of the PMU’s 41st Brigade, made the remarks to Iraq’s al-Ma’loumah news agency in an interview that was published on Tuesday.
The US, he said, is coming in the way of the PMU’s efforts to surveil terrorist movements around Iraq in line with Washington’s bid to “support the terrorists.”
Washington continues to exercise a “complete control” over Iraq’s airspace, al-Kariti regretted.
“The US’s interference in the security dossier, has contributed greatly to terrorist groups’ activities,” said the official.
This is while, the PMU’s drones are capable of monitoring the terrorists’ “every move” and are equipped with thermal imaging cameras that could be used to monitor the security situation on the ground and whatever potential criminal activity in Iraq’s north-central Salahuddin Province, noted the commander.
Had it not been for the Americans’ interference, the same drones could even be used to neutralize the terrorists, he announced.
In 2014, the PMU, a predominately Shia defensive organization, was called on by senior Iraqi Cleric Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ali al-Sistani to pitch in helping the country fight against the Takfiri terrorist group of Daesh.
The group’s fighters contributed decisively to routing Daesh in late 2017, prompting the Iraqi government to integrate them into the country’s official armed forces.
Washington has, however, invariably frowned upon the group’s activities and the extent of its acceptance and involvement in Iraq’s military and political sectors.
On several occasions, a so-called anti-Daesh US-led coalition that has been operating illegally in Iraq has resorted to conducting airstrikes against the PMU’s positions.