US Calls on Iraq to Dismantle Armed Groups

Pompeo warns Shi'ite groups undermine sovereignty

With Iraqi PM Mustafa Kadhemi set to visit the US this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is demanding that Iraq dismantle all Shi’ite militias in the country, calling them a threat to national sovereignty and promising US support on doing this.

The US has long had a problem with the Shi’ite militias, even though in recent wars, like the ISIS War, they were on the same side. This is because the militias are friendly with Iran, and the US sees them as a potential enemy in a future Iran war.

This has been a hassle for Kadhemi since he took power, as he’s seen as a US ally but also needs to try to avoid outright fights with the militia. This has left a tenuous balance, and one the US wants to tip to the scales over.

Kadhemi is just trying to hold things together for the next election, hoping the next elected person has the political capital to revise the Iraqi status quo. As the US keeps pushing for action, the risk grows that Kadhemi could lose his position before he can get that done.

This may be by design, as Iraq’s protesters want a new system where the country asserts more autonomy and isn’t constantly in bed with the US, Iran, or both. That’s been a pretty good system for the US, however, and they seem to want to preclude that.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.