An official Kurdish source said yesterday that Tehran is putting pressure on the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi to involve Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi militias in the operation to liberate Mosul and pointed out that Tehran aims to enforce its hegemony on Mosul through this pressure and establish its presence in order to threaten Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan, in the future.
The source who asked to remain anonymous told Asharq Al-Awsat that by striving to obtain Mosul, Iran is trying to establish its influence in this city for many reasons, the most important of which is to threaten the region of Kurdistan especially as the Kurdish leadership represented by Massoud Barzani opposes Iranian expansion in the area.
Meanwhile, Iraqi politicians expressed their denouncement of the statements that Al-Abadi made in parliament on Saturday regarding the involvement of Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi militias in the upcoming battle for Mosul. The commander of Al-Hashd Al-Watani (which is formed of people from the governorate of Ninevah) Atheel Al-Nujaifi told Asharq Al-Awsat that “any involvement of Al-Hashd Al-Watani in the battle of Mosul will complicate it and ensure that ISIS is not defeated. We will find ourselves facing a new battle in the form of Mosul’s inhabitants revolting against these militias”. Al-Nujaifi described Al-Abadi’s decision as “imprudent” and added that the prime minister’s recent decision “aims to export the militias’ internal conflicts to Sunni areas without caring about the interests of these regions or the consequences on relations between Iraqi regions”.
One of the leaders of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Mohiuddin Mezouari in the governorate of Ninevah told Asharq Al-Awsat that “most of the inhabitants of Ninevah are not participating with Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi in the operation to liberate the city of Mosul” and “if the Iraqi prime minister is serious about this operation, then he must send leaders of the governorate’s police to the areas within Ninevah so that they can participate in leading the Peshmerga, the operation to liberate the governorate and Al-Hashd Al-Watani forces in south and northeast Mosul.