Michel Rose and Ahmed Aboulenein (REUTERS) report:
French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday called on Iraq to dismantle all militias, including the government-sanctioned, Iran-backed Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), 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 Islamic State, Iran and Western powers, which do not see eye to eye.
So Macron has done what Donald Trump won't.
Apparently Donald and company can't make the call.
The closest they can come?
Deb Reichmann (AP) reports:
CIA Director Mike Pompeo said Saturday that he sent a letter to a top Iranian military official warning him that the United States would hold Tehran accountable for any attacks it conducted on American interests in Iraq.
Pompeo, who has voiced staunch opposition to Iran, said he sent the letter to Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and elite Quds Force, but the general didn’t read it.
Let's drop back to Thursday's snapshot:
Starting with Iraq's militias. They were supposed to be disbanded long ago, were considered illegal. But the US-installed prime minister of Iraq Hayder al-Abadi has made them part of the Iraqi military and they aren't planning on leaving. AP reported last month:
With the [ISIS] group driven from nearly all of Iraq, US officials have suggested that the thousands of mainly Shiite paramilitary fighters who mobilised against the Sunni extremists three years ago lay down their arms.
But Abu Mahdi Al Muhandis, who once battled US troops and is now the deputy head of the state-sanctioned Popular Mobilization Forces, says they are here to stay.
Today, PRESS TV notes:
A senior commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), also known as Hashd al-Sha’abi, says American military forces must leave his country’s soil following the eradication of the Takfiri terror group.
In an exclusive interview with Press TV, Hadi al-Ameri, who heads Iraq’s Badr Organization, said the popular forces would call on the parliament to draw up legislation to demand the US pull out all its troops from the Arab country.
“We will adopt a parliamentary decision to pull out all American troops”, who were allegedly fighting [ISIS] terrorists in the conflict-stricken Arab country, he said.
Ameri said the popular forces won’t allow even “one US soldier” to remain in Iraq now that the Takfiri terrorists have lost their major bastions in the Arab state in the face of successful Iraqi army operations.
That is what an element of the Iraqi government is saying.
Where are the journalists at the White House demanding a response to this?
Where are they at the State Dept?
Where is the President's statement on this?
I believe the US forces should leave Iraq immediately.
That has nothing to do with the threat from the faction of the Iraqi military.
But if you believe the US military should remain in Iraq -- and clearly those in charge at the Defense Dept do -- then why aren't you addressing these comments?
Seems the press should be asking why US military personnel are in Iraq.
And if the answer is "to train and assist," the response should be, "How effective can they be training and assisting a military that publicly states they are the enemy and that they need to get out of the country?"
This goes beyond the philosophical musings of why.
This goes to the fact that these comments indicate "harms way" now includes potential harm to US troops from the Iraqi military.
Should something happen to even one US service member, heads should roll.
And if something should happen to one US service member and the press hasn't done their job of informing people what the situation actually is and hasn't done their job demanding answers from the administration, then the blame for any harm or deaths will not just belong to Donald Trump and company but also to the press.
And yet Macron's calling for the Iraqi militias to be dismantled and Donald Trump is silent.
The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and NPR -- updated: