The Iraqi ambassador to Iran, Rajeh al-Musawi, said earlier this week that without the pro-government Shia militias known as the Popular Mobilization Units, Daesh (ISIS) would have reached the Gulf by now and begun enslaving their women and girls, according to CNN Arabic.
The Popular Mobilization Units, who receive much of their funding and weapons via the Iran, have played a pivotal role in the liberation of formerly Daesh-controlled cities like Fallujah and Tikrit. Despite military successes, they have been accused of stoking the flames of sectarianism in Iraq, with some units being accused of human rights abuses against Sunni civilians.
The official Iranian State Press Agency reported that al-Mosawi claimed that religious leadership plays a large role in fighting Daesh, adding that such leadership has led to victory of the Iraqi people over Daesh. He further claimed that the enemies of Iran have failed in their militaristic threats towards the nation, and are now using other means to target the Islamic Republic.
The ambassador additionally praised the teachings of the former Ayatollah al-Khomeini –Iran’s original supreme leader following the 1979 revolution – for allowing the people of Iran to surpass the challenges they face and realize a wide variety of achievements, reported CNN Arabic.
Nevertheless, the participation of the Popular Mobilization Units in the retaking of land lost by Daesh remains a divisive issue with deep sectarian undertones, causing rifts in the coalition against Daesh along religious and ethnic lines.