Go home, Rex Tillerson tells Iranian-backed militias in Iraq who helped defeat ISIS
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Sunday it was time for Iranian-backed militias and their Iranian advisers who helped Iraq defeat Islamic State to “go home” after a rare joint meeting with the leaders of Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
The United States is concerned that Iran, a Shi’ite regional rival, will take advantage of gains against IS there and in Syria to expand the influence it gained after the U.S. invasion in 2003, something Sunni Arab states like Saudi Arabia also oppose.
“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 at a joint news conference with Saudi foreign minister Adel Jubeir.
Tens of thousands of Iraqis heeded a call to arms in 2014 after IS seized a third of the country’s territory, forming the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) which receive funding and training from Tehran and have been declared part of the Iraqi security apparatus.
A senior U.S. official said Tillerson had been referring to the PMF and the Quds Force, the foreign paramilitary and espionage …read more