Abu Mehdi Muhandis meets with senior Iraqi Shiite cleric in Najaf

Abu Mehdi Muhandis meeting with Grand Ayatollah Bashir Hussain Najafi in Najaf.

Abu Mehdi Muhandis meeting with Grand Ayatollah Bashir Hussain Najafi in Najaf

 

According to Iranian media, Abu Mehdi Muhandis briefed Grand Ayatollah Bashir Hussain Najafi and the head of his office in the holy city of Najaf yesterday on ongoing Fallujah operations.  Muhandis is the commander of the Iranian-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, a US designated global terrorist and a deputy to Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani.  Najafi was born to a prominent clerical family in British India and is one of the five Grand Ayatollahs in Iraq.

The senior cleric praised the ongoing successes of Iraqi forces against the Islamic State and proclaimed, “all of Iraq must be cleansed from DAISH (pejorative for Islamic State) terrorists.” He also stressed the necessity of protecting public and private property during the Fallujah operation and said, “Members of the security forces and popular mobilization are the pride of the clergy.”

Najafi then announced: “Iraqi holy warriors and fighters must have serious will to liberate the remaining areas under the occupation of terrorism and not to give an opportunity for the invasion of this country’s soil.”

The head of the senior cleric’s office and his son, Hojjat al Eslam Sheikh Ali Najafi, also called for the protection of civilians in Fallujah “so they are free the clutches of terrorism with the least harm.” He likewise praised “members of popular mobilization who with faith and courage have once again demonstrated to the world and proved that they stand against the enemies with strength and treat innocent humans with kindness and gentleness.”

The militias backed by Tehran have often acted outside the law in Iraq as they battle Islamic State militants. The UN human rights chief warned this week that there were “extremely distressing, credible reports” that Iraqis fleeing Fallujah are facing physical abuse and even summary executions as they escape Fallujah. According to The New York Times, on the other hand, “for the most part, civilians who have fled the areas around Fallujah have said they had tired of the grim life under the Islamic State and had been treated well by the militias and Iraqi soldiers.”

 

 

Amir Toumaj is a Research Analyst at Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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2 Comments

  • Pete Speer says:

    Interesting. Perhaps i am out of date, but the G.A. with whom he visited likely reports to the G.A. al-Sistani, the most revered of all the Shi’ite G.A. — in Iran as well as Iraq and who may be the guiding force to peace.

    The basic sticking point is that the Sunni DAISH have as collateral duty the destruction of the Shi’a branch of Islam

    Fallujah on the other hand is a Sunni city in a Sunni province. That makes it a tougher nut to crack for the Shi’a forces. Thus the humanitarian remarks in this meeting, coming from the G.A. level are important, even from a Shi’a G.A.
    This whole Middle East mess is still a six sided Chinese Checkers game

  • Ros says:

    So let me get this straight: We are providing air cover for global terrorists attacking other global terrorists. I really don’t like that type of policy. Better to stay out of it is what I am thinking or otherwise, dare I say it, take this guy off the global terrorist list or at least downgrade him to something like the no fly list. That way we don’t appear to be supporting terrorists.

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