Iraq

Iraqi PM sacks Hashd al-Sha’abi head; group calls it ‘illegal’

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has dismissed his national security adviser Falih Alfayyadh from all his positions over what the premier’s office called involvement in political and partisan work.

Alfayyadh, who is affiliated with the former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, was also removed from the leadership of Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi (Popular Mobilization Forces), which played a key role in cleansing Iraq of Daesh terrorists.

In a statement released by Abadi’s office, it was stated that Alfayyadh’s alleged involvement in government formation talks would undermine the performance of the country’s security apparatus.

The dismissal has come in light of “Alfayyadh getting involved in practicing political and partisan work, and his wish to address political affairs, which goes against the critical national tasks he is holding,” read the statement which was released by the Facebook page of Abadi’s office.

In a statement on Friday, the Fatah Alliance slammed Abadi’s decision as “personal and illegal”, saying that it is unacceptable for the prime minister to dismiss his national security adviser over his opposition to Abadi’s re-election.

Abadi’s decision came amid reports that Alfayyadh was working with the Fatah Alliance, led by the chief of Badr Organization Hadi al-Amiri, and Maliki’s State of Law Coalition to establish the largest parliamentary bloc. The Iraqi parliament is to hold its first session on September 3, during which a president and two vice presidents will be elected.

In the May 12 parliamentary elections in Iraq, senior cleric Muqtada Sadr’s Sairoon bloc won 54 out of 329 seats in the Iraqi parliament. The Fatah (Conquest) Alliance led by al-Amiri, and Abadi’s Nasr (Victory) coalition finished second and third with 47 and 42 seats, respectively.

US Interference

While Iraq’s political circles have so far failed to reach a consensus over the formation of the next government, there are reports that the US president’s special envoy Brett McGurk is working to influence the next cabinet line-up.

In a Thursday meeting with the US envoy, al-Amiri warned that Iraq’s future government will be toppled in two months if the US keeps interfering in the process of forming the new cabinet.

The process of forming the new government is solely an Iraqi decision, he noted, stressing that any government formed through Washington’s pressure would be considered a traitor, according to a statement by al-Amiri’s office.

On Tuesday, Trump’s envoy reportedly held a meeting with Osama al-Nujaifi, one of Iraq’s three current vice presidents and a candidate for the National Axis Alliance to head the new parliament.

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