Maliki Calls For Hashid Al-Shaabi Participation In Mosul Fight

Maliki Calls For Hashid Al-Shaabi Participation In Mosul Fight

Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Tuesday (June 28) that Shia paramilitary forces need to be involved in operations to retake the country’s second-largest city, Mosul.

Maliki met with U.S. Ambassador Stuart Jones in Baghdad to discuss political and security developments as well as U.S.-Iraqi relations, the former prime minister’s office reported.

Islamic State (ISIS) militants are no longer able to find refuge in the country, Maliki said, adding that all attention and efforts in the country should be turned towards liberating Mosul.

Shia paramilitary forces have played a large part in operations against the ISIS across Iraq, following a call by Shia cleric Ali al-Shahristani in a 2014 fatwa for citizens to protect Iraq's cities and towns.

Iraqi authorities in Anbar said on June 12 they had evidence that paramilitary forces – also known as Hashid al-Shaabi – were responsible for killing 49 civilians who escaped fighting in the city of Fallujah, adding to fears of involving the force in operations in Sunni-majority areas.

Officials expect figures on civilians killed in recent weeks to rise as operations against ISIS in the area proceed as leaders call on the central Iraqi government to intervene and bring those accused of rights violations to justice.

According to some reports, as many as 643 civilians were reported missing between June 3 and 5 after they reached Hashid al-Shaabi militias while fleeing Fallujah.