BAGHDAD (Press TV) – A senior official from Iraq’s Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq group, which is part of the country’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) or Hashd al-Sha’abi, says his fellow comrades are ready to inflict heavy losses on American troops should Washington refuse to comply with a parliament decision demanding the withdrawal of all U.S.-led foreign military forces from the Arab country.
"The resistance factions are completely prepared to inflict a great defeat on American forces if they go against the will of the Iraqi government and people,” Mahmoud al-Rubaye, a member of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq’s political wing, said in an interview with Russia’s RT Arabic television news network on Thursday.
He added, "I think the United States is afraid of direct confrontation with resistance groups, because it has a bitter experience of face-off with them.”
Rubaye highlighted that Iraqi anti-US resistance groups are now much more developed and ready compared to the time before 2011.
The remarks came two days after influential Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr demanded that Iraqis stage a "million-man march” against the continued U.S. military presence in the country.
The march is needed "to condemn the American presence and its violations,” Sadr, who leads the largest parliamentary bloc, Sairoon, said in a tweet on Tuesday.
"The skies, land, and sovereignty of Iraq are being violated every day by occupying forces,” he added. The cleric, however, cautioned that such a show of popular disapproval should be a "peaceful, unified demonstration,” but did not offer a date or location for the proposed rally.
On January 5, Iraqi lawmakers unanimously approved a bill, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi government has denied claims that the country’s military is resuming joint operations with the U.S.-led coalition after Washington’s assassination of top Iranian and Iraqi commanders.
"The joint operations have not resumed and we have not given our authorization,” Major General Abdul Karim Khalaf, the spokesman for the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi armed forces, said on Thursday.
He added that the coalition did not have a permission from Baghdad to carry out any joint missions.
The remarks came after the New York Times, citing two American military officials, reported Thursday that the U.S. had resumed the operations.