Transportation Minister Hadi al-Ameri, the leader of Iraq’s most powerful Shi’ite militia, the Badr Brigade, today dismissed talk of an immediate counteroffensive to retake the Anbar capital of Ramadi from ISIS, saying the talk was “laughable” and that it was unrealistic to expect his militia and others to immediately push into the city.
“We don’t want to shed the blood of our youth so cheaply for people who say they don’t want us,” Ameri said, adding that Sunni rivals need to learn that they cannot defeat ISIS without Shi’ite aid, and that “the Americans cannot save Ramadi.”
After the fall of Ramadi, Iraqi Premier Hayder Abadi made an immediate call to arms to the Shi’ite militias, and some 3,000 massed around the area between Ramadi and Baghdad. The forces have clashed with ISIS, but predictions from Abadi that they’d retake Ramadi quickly have not come to pass.
Ameri is hugely influential, both within the Shi’ite dominated government and the militia movement, and it is unusual for him to be seen so directly contradicting official policy, suggesting there is likely to be a shift in official policy in the days to come.