Cairo: Iraq Prime Minister Mostafa Al Kadhimi has sharply criticised a show of force by an Iran-allied armed militia after authorities arrested a militia commander for criminal investigations.
Personnel of the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU) Wednesday appeared in vehicles in the capital Baghdad, including the fortified Green Zone, to protest the arrest of a PMU commander Qassem Musleh.
Authorities said Musleh had been detained upon an arrest warrant and judicial investigations under an anti-terror law for questioning on criminal charges, without specifying them.
Local media hinted that Musleh was detained for involvement in recent killings of pro-reform activists in Iraq.
“The movements made by armed groups in Baghdad constitute a serious breach not only of order and the law, but also of the constitution,” Al Kadhimi said without naming the militia.
“The constitution defines assignments of different authorities. The government is responsible for executive tasks and carries out the Judiciary’s orders according to legal memorandums,” he added in a statement.
Al Kadhimi also accused unnamed groups of seeking to create crises as part of political rivalries, or to block Iraq’s early parliamentary election due in October.
“Iraq is going through a sensitive stage. This government was formed with the aim of addressing challenges resulting from long accumulations,” he added.
The Kadhimi government was formed in May last year after months of street protests in Iraq. In recent months, several Iraqi activists have been targeted in attacks blamed on pro-Iran groups.