The New Arab Logo

Breaking News
Mosul officials, residents hopeful after Iraqi PM issues order to expel militias Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff

Mosul officials, residents hopeful after Iraqi PM issues order to expel militias

Popular Mobilization Forces militia fighters have dominated Mosul since 2017 [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 August, 2020

Share this page:
  • 0

  • twitter
Officials and residents in Mosul have expressed hopes for better security and the return of displaced people after Iraqi Prime Minister Kadhimi issued an order expelling militias from the city.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has issued orders giving control of checkpoints and security positions in Mosul to the police and army, officials in the city have reported.

Currently security checkpoints in Mosul and other areas of Ninawah province, which is Iraq's third-largest city, are under the control of militias from the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) coalition. Kadhimi's orders cover the entire province.

Local officials say that militia control of checkpoints has caused "chaos", with different militias competing for authority, extorting money from citizens, taking over land and selling it, and preventing reconstruction efforts.

Much of the militias' extortion activities are handled by "economic offices" belonging to them. Some of these operate under the cover of front organisations and companies.

Mosul was captured by the Islamic State (IS) extremist group from the Iraqi government in 2014 and was subjected to an intense bombing campaign by the US-led anti-IS coalition before being recaptured by PMF militias fighting alongside the Iraqi government in 2017.

Much of it remains devastated to this day.

A local government official who preferred to remain anonymous told The New Arab’s Arabic-language service that Kadhimi’s new orders would "be implemented within the next few days and checkpoints and positions belonging to armed factions will disappear from the centre of Mosul and other cities".

He said that militias would redeploy outside major cities and no longer be involved in local affaris.

"Security issues will be managed by the police and the army, and they are fully equipped to manage them," he added.

Abdel Rahim Al-Shammari, a member of parliament for Ninawah province, said that the new security arrangements "would be positive for the people of the province".

"The government is planning to take decisions that will benefit the province and its stability. We hope that this will send a message of reassurance to the people of Mosul," he told The New Arab’s Arabic service.

Shammari called on the government to close the militias' "economic offices", saying that "they had greatly harmed Mosul and are still carrying out extortion and brokerage and taking control of business projects".

Local leaders also welcomed Kadhimi's decision, saying that they hoped that it would lead to the return of people displaced from the city during and after the conflict with IS.

Sheik Saad Al-Hamdani told The New Arab’s Arabic service that "the decision shows that the government is determined to take an interest in [Ninawah] province after previous governments couldn’t meet any of the people’s needs".

"We hope displaced people will be able to return to their areas now after the militias’ presence was an obstacle to this," he added, saying that the militias had deliberately tried to prevent this return.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay connected

The New ArabComments

Most Popular

Most Popular

    Read More