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Iraqi resistance leader stresses factions are independent from Iran, warns of foreign attempts to incite sectarian conflict
The leader of Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq says that, while Tehran has remained a close ally, the decisions made by the resistance groups are completely independent
By News Desk - January 20 2022
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(Photo credit: AP)

During an interview with BBC Farsi, Iraqi resistance leader Qais al-Khazali spoke at length about the political crisis gripping Iraq, and highlighted that the recent re-election of Mohammed al-Halbousi as Speaker of Parliament served as “proof” of resistance groups’ independence from Iran.

“The fact that the Iranian parliament speaker congratulated the speaker of the Iraqi parliament has not affected our positions and [we continue] to reject the election results, and whether or not the Iranian parliament speaker congratulates us has no effect on our positions, and this is proof of our independence,” Khazali told the interviewer.

He went on to add that, in the event of a disagreement in the formation of a government by Muqtada al-Sadr, the Coordination Framework is considering its options of whether to boycott the political process or join the opposition.

Khazali, the leader of resistance faction Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, also spoke at length about the ongoing presence of US troops in Iraqi soil, despite the announcement last year by US President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khadimi that all combat troops would leave the nation by 31 December.

In this regard, he said that “as long as the occupying forces are present, there [will be a] resistance,” but also pointed out that “whether we have tension with them or reduce the level of tension is a tactic based on the interests of the resistance groups.”

“I reiterate that our decision is independent of Iran’s decision, the Iranians are allies… and because of our good relations, the Iranians have the right to comment and advise, but the final decision [lies] with us, even about the resistance,” Khazali said before adding: “I say frankly that even if the Vienna talks are concluded, the Iraqi resistance operation will not stop.”

He also pointed out that, over recent months, resistance groups in Iraq and Yemen have reached a stage where they can produce their own heavy weapons, especially drones.

During the interview, Khazali went on to reveal he had information about foreign plans to drag Iraq into a “Shia-Shia war” by taking advantage of the post-election crisis, and that some media outlets were fueling this fire.

The resistance leader expressed confidence that the existence of a supreme Shia authority in Iraq would likely┬áprevent such a conflict. Nonetheless, Khazali believes that, due to all of these tensions, the future government “is unlikely to succeed.”

Since last October, Iraq has been mired in a political crisis over the results of parliamentary elections which saw a majority of Shia parties allied with the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) end up with a meager representation in parliament.

Most recently, the leader of the winning coalition, Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, has been meeting with all political actors in the country as he attempts to form what he has described as a “national majority government.”

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