On October 22, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said at a joint news conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, that it is time for “Iranian militias” that’s fighting ISIS in Iraq to “go home” according to Reuters Agency.
“Iranian militias that are in Iraq, now that the fight against Daesh and ISIS is coming to a close, those militias need to go home. The foreign fighters in Iraq need to go home and allow the Iraqi people to regain control,” Tillerson said.
According to Reuters an US official explained that Tillerson was referring to the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and the Iranian Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
However, the PMU consists of Iraqi forces with some Iranian support and assiastance. Considering this, Tillerson statement is either based on very poor understanding of the situation in Iraq, or it might be meant as propaganda, and nothing more.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was also in Saudi Arabia when Tillerson made his statement. Al-Abadi’s visit to Saudi Arabia was the first visit of an Iraqi prime minister to Riyadh in the last 25 years.
During his visit Iraqi and Saudi officials discussed various issues including the reopening of the border between the two countries, financial corporation and joint work against ISIS and other terrorist groups.
“Let’s not cry over spilt milk. Whatever happened in the past has happened. The good news is we are all here toward building a prosperous and beneficial future for both countries,” Saudi Commerce and Investment Minister Majid al-Qusaibi told Reuters.
Lately the Iraqi government worked to restore its relationship with the Arabian Gulf countries, mainly with Saudi Arabia. However, the Iraqi government is clearly aiming at balanced relationships between Iraq and all of its neighbors including Iran.
Al-Abadi left Riyadh on October 22 to visit Egypt, the Iraqi Prime minister is also set to visit Jordan and Turkey in the upcoming days.