The Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi officially announced that the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) will not be disbanded.
The announcement was made at a speech at a festival organized by one of the PMU groups In response to Muqtada al-Sadr’s demand to disband the PMU.
“It will not be disbanded and it will remain under the leadership of the state and the religious authority,” Abadi said.
Abadi warned from “those who are trying to sow discrimination” and added that “All should not listen to the ugly voices. We will not allow them to take us back to square one.”
“There is unity between the people, our security forces and the state,” he concluded.
Yesterday during a demonstration in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, Muqtada al-Sadr called for the disbanding of the PMU saying that “weapons must be exclusively in the hands of the state.”
Al-Sadr called on Abadi to integrate the disciplined PMU elements to the armed forces and to bring the PMU command – that’s governed by law – under the exclusive control of the state and under strict conditions.
Al-Sadr called for “the disarming of weapons from all sides in a fatherly way… while preserving the dignity of the Mujahidees and the resistance.”
Sadr’s demands come only days after his return from Saudi Arabia where he met with several Saudi officials, most notably the Saudi Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman.
Since the beginning of 2017, Muqtada al-Sadr has started approaching Saudi Arabia for unknown reasons. Although al-Sadr has a large number of supporters in the Iraqi street, he does not have enough leverage to pressure the Iraqi government to disband the PMU, which became the strongest party in Iraq in the last two years.