Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has vowed to keep the Shia-led paramilitary troops of al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units) for several years, announcing increase of their budget to raise the fighters’ wages, AlSumaria News reported.
During a weekly press conference on Tuesday, Abadi said, “Our support to al-Hashd al-Shaabi is ongoing and we will increase its budget… I was astonished to know that the fighters’ wages were used after increasing their allocations. I ordered investigations into this, but it was rejected.”
“We need to guarantee that these funds go to the fighters, not to employ people or to finance electoral campaigns,” Abadi added.
PMUs, according to Abadi, “will continue for years, despite some people’s attempt to oppose them.”
In February, Abadi instructed the PMUs’ general inspector to investigate the distribution of the fighters’ wages and stressed necessity to find a ‘fair’ distribution mechanism. Later, Abadi pledged raising the troops allocations starting May.
During a meeting with foreign ministers of the anti-IS coalition countries in Washington in March, Abadi stresses that he will not allow the PMUs, mainly composed of Shia fighters, to take part in the Iraqi parliament elections.
PMUs, an alliance of more than 60 mostly Shia militias, are recognized by the government as a national force under the Prime Minister’s command.
The group has been actively engaged in the Iraqi government’s war against IS, and has recently claimed full control over Iraq’s borders with Syria, but has been operating only on ground with air support from the Iraqi army warplanes.