Top Iraqi Shi’ite cleric says paramilitaries should be under the control of the Iraqi government

Iraq's top Shiite religious authority Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani
Iraq’s top Shiite religious authority Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani

Iraqi Shi‘ite paramilitary groups who took part in the war against Islamic State militants should be incorporated into state security bodies, the nation’s top Shi‘ite cleric said.

In a message delivered at the Friday sermon in the holy city of Kerbala through one of his representatives, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said all weapons used in fighting the insurgents should be brought under the control of the Iraqi government.

Sistani’s position is in line with that of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who wants to prevent commanders of the militias known as Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) from using power and clout they acquired during the war in elections due on May 12.

Sistani was the author of a landmark fatwa, or religious decree, which urged Iraqis to volunteer for the war on Islamic State after the government’s armed forces collapsed in 2014 and the militants swept towards the gates of Baghdad.

 “The victory over Daesh doesn’t mean the end of the battle with terrorism,” Sistani’s representative Sheikh Abdulmehdi al-Karbalai said, mentioning the existence of “sleeper cells”.

“The security apparatus should be supported by the fighters who took part in the war on Daesh,” he added in the sermon broadcast on state TV, using an Arab acronym for Islamic State.

“It is necessary to absorb the fighters in the official and constitutional structures,” Sistani said in the sermon, adding that “the fatwa should not be used to achieve political aims”.

Abadi quickly reacted to Sistani’s sermon in a statement from his office “welcoming his call against using volunteers and fighters in political campaigning”.

Iraq’s Sunni and Kurdish politicians have called on Abadi, who declared victory over Islamic State last week, to disarm the PMF. They say the militias are responsible for widespread abuses including extra-judicial killings, kidnappings and displacing non-Shi‘ite populations, and in effect report to Tehran, not the government in Baghdad.

The PMF says any abuses were isolated incidents and not systematic and that those who committed them have been punished.

Two of the most important Iranian-backed paramilitary leaders, Hadi al-Amiri and Qais al-Khazali, announced this week they were putting their militias under Abadi’s orders.

Their decision to formally separate their armed and political wings could pave the way for them to contest the elections, possibly as part of a broader alliance close to Iran.

Iran provided training and supplied weapons to the most powerful PMF groups including Amiri’s Badr Organisation and Khazali’s Asaib Ahl al-Haq.

The Iraqi parliament last year voted to establish the PMF as a separate military corps that reports to Abadi in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the armed forces.


  • Arzna

    Bravo Ayatollah Sistani. You don’t want an Iranian-backed Hezbollah type operation in Iraq like we have in Lebanon. Very smart move. The question is will Iran’s General Suleimani the leader of the Quds force allow Iraq to do so. I doubt it . I think Iran feels that it now owns Iraq and it is up to the Iraqis to prove Iran wrong Go for it Ayatollah Sistani , you are very well respected in Iraq and elsewhere .

    • Hind Abyad

      It’s not new see 2015. “Op-ed calls on Israel to nuke Germany, Iran ’20-30 nuclear bombs will assure the job gets done,’ opinion piece on right-wing Israel National News site says;”..

      What i don’t understand nuking 2.7k the oldest Jewish community that never moved from the Middle East.
      “Iran’s Jewish community in Esfahan: We ‘feel at home’

      • Rascal

        Would you like to comment on the news article? Not every piece of new trails back to your jew-hate.

        • Hind Abyad

          That’s what i do. Do you comment defending this stalker?

          • Rascal

            You did not comment regarding this news statement, you only rehashed your typical Jews did this and zionist done that crap. You need to look at the bigger picture. There is a lot more going on than your simplistic black or white view of the world.

          • Hind Abyad

            What?..I commented on Nuking Iran and it’s 2,700 old Jewish community, go learn history robot.

      • Rainbow Sponge

        In addition to filing criminal charges, I am also in touch with Dany Nohra who might sue you for spreading dirt on him and his wife. All have been screenshotted. Deleting any of your posts will prove the case against you. Be ready for some jail time!

        • Hind Abyad

          Leave me alone drink Kosher pig blood in Jersey Pump.
          Dahny Nohra I don’t give a damn about you just lay OFF
          1-Stop playing for the audience.
          2- STOP commenting about me- to others..

          “She has 2 Lesbian aunts” it’s Extreemly insulting
          “Dial 514 you get to her private parts” it’s deeply insulting
          vulgar disgusting gutter porn.

        • Hind Abyad

          “Rainbow Sponge – Hind Abyad • 14 hours ago
          That must be your private parts under a microscope. Xoxo
          •Reply•Share ›”

        • Rascal

          I think I have missed something here. Has Hind been a bad girl?

          • Y K

            If you define “bad” as “deranged”, the answer is a resounding yes! 🙂

        • Hind Abyad

          “MaImequer0 – Hind Abyad • 2 years ago
          LOL sweetie… more of the usual crazy lies… And, there is now way that you have a husband or son (you are far too ugly, inside and out).. unless of course they are imaginary like all your other fictional characters…
          However, your terrorist supporting hate can get you in jail now, C51… and, even better, C24, you can be kicked out of Montreal and Canada!!! No anchor baby, real or imagined, and no fake Canadian husband can save you now!!! LOL Nobody cares that you used to sleep with your cousins and it’s not to hard to imagine why your lesbian aunts abandoned you.
          But you are correct on one point… Cookie, Barabie and I did issue orders to Harper, We reminded him that we own Canada and he promised to do exactly as we say.”

        • Hannibal

          That will be a great sight… Putting your laundry and hers in front of the court system will make the news. You’d have a case if you haven’t returned in kind all the swears 😉

  • Danny Farah

    What a difference between the wiseman Sistani and the Angry man in Dahia. what’s wrong with merging Hezbollah with the LAF. oh wait Iran cannot order the LAF to terrorise arabs and westerners or fight Israel when it pleases.
    I understand now…Those hypocrites who keep saying that we must have armed resistance? I ask you why? why don’t you encourage the integration of the resistance within the army? if you refuse then you are aiding Iran in the destruction of lebanon. You are an agent of Syria and Iran that’s all i can say. Of course your defense arguments always comes back you are a KSA agent. I say kiss Amek until hell freezes over.

    • Arzna

      The difference : Sistani believes in a free and independent Iraq , while the guy in Dahia is a paid agent who is willing to do whatever the boss says regardless of the consequences to his country. He is fully committed to the Wilayat al Faqih system so all he cares about is Iran .

  • Hannibal

    Too late… The genie has left the bottle… Enjoy!