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Iraq’s Shia parties escalate sectarian tensions, pressure Kurds

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Statements made by Kurdish politician Hoshyar Zebari questioning the deployment of the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) in the Green Zone, where government offices and major international missions are located, and at Baghdad Airport have sparked a storm of controversy in Iraq, Arab Weekly reported.


Zebari's remarks brought to the fore questions about security authorities’ ability to face the challenges embodied by negative Iranian influence in the Iraqi capital.


Zebari, a veteran politician and diplomat who has served as foreign minister and finance minister in the federal government, said that the United States had already informed Iraq of its intention to close its embassy in Baghdad due to the threat posed by groups linked to Iran and their repeated Katyusha-rocket attacks, noting that it was the responsibility of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to handle the status and role of the PMF inside the Green Zone and to ensure the security of the road linking the US Embassy building and the Green Zone.


Zebari believes that the PMF’s continued control of the Green Zone and its roads leading to Baghdad airport will not serve Iraq and its foreign relations, especially its relations with major powers.

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