Baghdad (Iraqinews.com) – The Iraqi government has decided to pull U.S.-made weaponry from pro-Iranian fighters of al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) in order not to spoil relations with Washington, a London-based Arabic-language newspaper said Sunday.
In a report, al-Hayat paper noted that the Iraqi government took the decision as it fears that PMF fighters would “use such weapons in clashes inside the Syrian territories,” dealing a big blow to Iraq’s contractual obligations to the American side.
The paper highlighted that the Iraqi decision to pull American weaponry from Iran-backed fighters came following reports about PMF’s seizure of “at least nine high-tech, U.S.-made M-1 tanks” provided by the U.S. for the Iraqi government.
According to a U.S. news website, The Pentagon is pressuring Iraq to seize any M-1s that are still in the PMF’s hands amid reports that fighters have already deployed them against some of America’s longtime Kurdish allies.
“We are aware that not all U.S.-provided defense articles are under the control of the intended recipient,” a spokesperson for the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and Syria told The Daily Beast via email.
The website reported that the PMF “deployed at least one M-1 against Kurdish Peshmerga forces during skirmishes in the contested Iraqi city of Kirkuk in October 2017.”