Abadi rejects al-Sadr call to dissolve Hashd al-Shaabi | Iraq News

Haidar al-Abadi, Iraqi prime minister, has rejected a call by Muqtada al-Sadr, the oowerful Iraqi Shia leader, to dissolve a controversial militia involved in battling the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

Hashd al-Shaabi, a Shia unit also known as the Badr militia, was established in 2014 with the avowed purpose of fighting ISIL, also known as ISIS, which captured vast expanses of territory in northern and western Iraq.

“The Hashd al-Shaabi …is for Iraq and will not be dissolved,” Abadi said in the capital Baghdad on Saturday.

“The next phase after liberating the land from Daesh is the battle of the unity of word.”

Daesh is the Arabic term for ISIL.

Opinion: The future of militias in post-ISIL Iraq

Hashd al-Shaabi has faced accusations of abuses against civilians in Sunni-majority areas.

Last month, the Iraqi army recaptured Mosul, the country’s second largest city, from ISIL, which overran the city in 2014.

Speaking to supporters on Friday, Sadr called for dissolving Hashd al-Shaabi and absorbing its fighters in the Iraqi army.

Large following

Sadr issued the statement on July 30 after his visit to Saudi Arabia, where he held talks with the kingdom’s leadership.

Sadr, an anti-American figure, commands a large following among the urban poor of Baghdad and the southern cities, including Saraya al-Salam, or Peace Brigades militia.

He met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah and discussed issues of common interest, Reuters news agency reported.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets with Iraqi Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr in Jeddah on July 30 [Reuters File]

Source: News agencies

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