Calls for dismantling the Iranian Militias in Iraq and Syria (IMIS) have raised the ire of Iran and its agents in Iraq. This was hardly surprising as it is expected that Tehran will relentlessly defend one of the tools it uses to fulfill its regional aspirations. That is why Iran considers IMIS a sacred cow that should not be touched.
According to analysts, Tehran blasted the calls for dissolving IMIS as it protects one its assets.
Shia militias are a precious asset for Iran as it uses them in Iraq, Syria and Yemen to create its Shia Crescent, they noted.
They added that maintaining the militias in their present form serves Tehran's interests.
On Monday, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani claimed that calls for disbanding IMIS indicate a new plot aimed at bringing back insecurity to the Middle East.
The fact that a Western country’s president call for dismantling IMIS shows a new plot being hatched to bring insecurity and terrorism back to the region, Shamkhani said in a meeting with the head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq and the first deputy speaker of the country’s parliament, Sheikh Humam Hamoudi, in Tehran.
He alleged that wisdom of the Iraqi officials, particularly the lawmakers, would thwart the enemies’ plots to undermine the country’s solidarity and national security, saying, “Certainly, such plots will be foiled.”
The collapse of ISIS terrorists in Iraq and said resistance of the Iraqi people and acts of great bravery by the country’s army and security forces, particularly IMIS fighters, led to the collapse of the “biggest threat to the region,” the senior Iranian official purported.
This comes after French President Emmanuel Macron called on Saturday on Iraq to dismantle all militias, including the government-sanctioned, IMIS, a rare public call to do so by a major Western leader.
Macron’s call, which followed a meeting with Iraqi Kurdish leaders in Paris, underscores the tough balancing act Baghdad has to perform between its allies in the war on ISIS, Iran and Western powers.
“It is essential that there is a gradual demilitarization, in particular of IMIS that established itself in the last few years in Iraq, and that all militias be gradually dismantled,” he told a Paris news conference held with Iraqi Kurdish leaders.
The French president’s call was widely received with outrage and anger by many in Iraq.
Shia leaders’ ire aroused
Iraqi officials have blasted calls to disband a Shia-dominated militia coalition that has been of committing mass genocide and war crimes against Iraq Sunni Arab and Kurdish civilians during the war against ISIS.
The 60,000-strong IMIS were formed in 2014 after ISIS routed government forces to seize swathes of northern Iraq, and it played a central role in helping push back the terrorists.
Calls have grown from the West for IMIS - an umbrella group dominated by Iran-backed Shia militias that is officially controlled by Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi - to be dismantled as the ISIS "caliphate" has been reduced to a few pockets of desert.
"Any such discussion is rejected and we do not accept interference in Iraqi affairs," said one of the group's leaders, Ahmad al-Assadi.
"Emmanuel Macron interfered unexpectedly in Iraq's internal affairs by calling for the dismantling of a legal institution, IMIS," former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki wrote on Facebook Saturday.
"We don't want any country to impose its will on the Iraqi government and the brave Iraqi nation," the leading Shia politician said.
IMIS is deeply divisive inside Iraq and among the country's international backers, and has been accused both of promoting Iranian interests and carrying out a wave of abuses.
Similarly, in October, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Iranian militias in Iraq should "go home".
According to observers, Iran’s sectarian plot in the Middle East will have dire consequences in the future. IMIS pose a threat to the region now and in the days to come, they concluded.