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Iraqi armed groups link disarmament to US withdrawal and formation of new government – ​​Middle East Monitor

Iraqi paramilitary forces Hashd Al-Shaabi said on Friday that the armed factions would hand over their weapons after the formation of a new government and the withdrawal of US forces from the country, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Iraq has been going through a political crisis since the announcement of the results of the legislative elections at the end of last year.

Disagreement between political groups in parliament led to an impasse, preventing the election of a new president and the formation of a government.

Shia cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr, leader of the Sadrist movement whose party won the last parliamentary elections, said recently that disarming Shia factions not overseen by the state would be key to including a group of Shia parties known as the name of Coordinating Framework in a new coalition government.

The coordinating framework is an umbrella of Shia parties pushing Al-Sadr to accept their participation in the next government, based on a sectarian quota system. Al-Sadr, however, insisted on forming a “national majority” government.

“In principle, this (Al-Sadr’s) proposal has been approved,” Hashd Al-Shaabi leader Falih Al-Fayyadh said in an interview with local Al-Sharqiya TV channel.

READ: Explosive remnants kill and maim 519 children in Iraq: UNICEF

Al-Fayyadh said the factions want a new government and the withdrawal of US forces from the country in return for handing over their weapons.

The Hashd Al-Shaabi, or Popular Mobilization Forces, is an official institution operating under the office of the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces and Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

Recent months have seen a series of attacks targeting US-led coalition convoys in central and southern Iraq.

The attacks came after a threat from Iraqi armed factions affiliated with Iran to target foreign forces in the country.

Washington accuses Iraqi groups supported by Iran of being behind the attacks, a charge denied by Tehran.