Hadi al-Amiri Dismay At Fallujah War Operations
The leader of the largest Iraqi Shia paramilitary group has criticized a lack of "precise planning" in war operations to capture Fallujah, the stronghold of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) near Baghdad.
Hadi al-Amiri's comments, make him the second Shia militia leader to voice dismay over efforts launched on May 23 by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to dislodge the ultra-hardline militants from Fallujah, 50 km (32 miles) west of the Iraqi capital.
"There is an absence of precise planning for the military operations," said Amiri, the leader of the Badr Organization, the largest component of the Popular Mobilization Units, a coalition of Shia militias that came together two years ago to fight ISIS with also goes by the name Hashid al-Shaabi.
On Friday (June 3), Jawad al-Talabawi, a spokesman for another Shia militia group Asaib Ahl al-Haq, said the operations had come to a near standstill and asked Abadi to order the resumption of attacks.
Abadi said on June 1 the army had slowed its offensive over fears for the safety of tens of thousands of civilians trapped in the city with limited access to water, food and healthcare.
But Amiri accused the authorities of moving military assets away from Fallujah, to the frontlines of Mosul, ISIS’ de facto capital in northern Iraq.
"I believe that sending a large number of armored vehicles and counter-terrorism forces to the (Makhmour) area under the pretext of the battles for Sharqat and Mosul and not have them here for the battle of Fallujah, is a betrayal of the battle for Fallujah," Amiri said, referring to a region in northern Iraq.
On Sunday (June 5), Iraq sent the 37th Brigade of the Iraqi army to a base in Makhmour as part of a military buildup in preparations for an offensive to liberate Mosul.
The military reinforcement includes 16 T-55 tanks, 100 armored personnel carriers, a number of BMP-1 Soviet amphibious infantry fighting vehicles and 14 humvees.
Fallujah would be the third major city in Iraq recaptured by the government, after Tikrit and Ramadi.