BAGHDAD (Dispatches) – The leader of the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq resistance group, which is part of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units or Hashd al-Sha’abi, has warned against “suspicious” attempts to stir up unrest and plunge the Arab country into a political turmoil.
“The countdown for dragging Iraq into a [political] vortex through protest rallies and public unrest has already started,” Qais al-Khazali said in an interview with Iraq’s Arabic-language al-Ahad television network.
“The sole purpose of such demonstrations is to spark off armed clashes under the guise of resistance and struggle,” he added.
“Over the past few days, Erbil has been the breeding ground for groups of militants, whose main objective is to provoke a conflict. These groups are trained and armed in Erbil and are accommodated in five-star hotels,” the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq chief noted.
“Currently, a group is trying to create a wave of unrest and insecurity only in the central and southern provinces of Iraq,” Khazali said.
Anti-government demonstrations gripped the Iraqi capital Baghdad, and later swept through several other cities in late 2019.
The demonstrations erupted as a result of public anger at corruption, mass unemployment and failing public services. Reports say some 550 people were killed and 30,000 injured.
Baghdad says foreign-backed elements were behind the unrest.
In another development, Iraq has voiced objection to the mention of “state of Israel” in the final statement of an Arab inter-parliamentary conference in Egypt.
The objection was raised by Iraq’s Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi who also condemned a few Arab countries’ normalization of ties with the occupying regime.
“The Speaker of Parliament, Muhammad al-Halbousi, registered his objection to the mention of the name ‘State of Israel’ in the final statement,” the Iraqi News Agency (INA) quoted Halbousi’s office as saying on Saturday.
Halbousi, as his office said, stressed “the replacement of the description with the ‘occupying Israeli entity’,” during the emergency conference of the Arab Parliamentary Union on the situation in Palestine, which is currently being held in Cairo.
“We are facing great challenges that require all of us to take a firm, decisive and real stance that rises to the level of necessity and need,” Halbousi said.
“The escalation has reached to extremes and cannot be tolerated, neglected, or delayed, and today, as representatives of the will of our peoples, we bear moral and religious responsibility before political and official responsibility, and we are called upon by chivalry before interest and need, and conscience before duty,” he added.
Halbousi said the status of Al-Quds and the occupied Palestinian territories, particularly the holy Muslim and Christian sites, require an Arab position that works to activate international resolutions issued in favor of the Palestinian cause.