Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iraq’s draft 2018 budget excludes 30.000 fighters of the paramilitary forces that fought Islamic State alongside the government from the payroll earmarked for the forces, a parliament member was quoted saying.
Faleh al-Khazaali, a member of the Iraqi parliament’s security and defense committee, was quoted saying, in press statements on Monday, that the draft “included allocations for 122.000 fighter of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), while the official number of fighters on the ground who receive salaried from the mobilization institution is 152.000”.
Khazaali labeled the budget “unfair to the mobilization”.
The parliament concluded a consultative session on the draft on Sunday, and referred the document to the finance committee to turn it its final form.
Last week, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi vowed to give Popular Mobilization Forces payments equal to other government troops. “The government pledges to equalize the salaries of the Popular Mobilization Forces with their peers at security forces”, he stated.
Popular Mobilization Forces, an alliance of volunteer Shia paramilitary forces, have actively backed the Iraqi government’s military campaign against IS since 2014, when they were formed upon a top Shia clergy edict to counter the Sunni Jihadist group.
PMF won official recognition as a national force late 2016, becoming under the command of the prime minister, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces.