SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraq’s al-Fateh Alliance led by Hadi al-Amiri on Saturday condemned a U.S. decision to blacklist militia leader Falih al-Fayyadh.
The U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement on Friday that it was blacklisting Fayyadh, chairman of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Committee (PMC). It accused him of being part of a crisis cell formed in the late 2019 to suppress protests with the support of Iran’s revolutionary guards Quds force.
Al-Fateh alliance expressed its “strong condemnation” in a statement on Saturday, saying the decision was “an insult to the head of the Popular Mobilization Forces,” according to Shafaq News.
“We strongly warn that these acts are targeting the group as an official institution, not only its president and its leaders,” Fateh said.
“This blatant encroachment on the Iraqi state and its security apparatus in these difficult circumstances that the country is going through reveals the size of the negative interventions of the American administration,” the group added.
Iraqi Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that the U.S. decision was an “unacceptable surprise” and that it would “carefully follow up with the current and the new administration in Washington on all decisions issued by the U.S. Treasury Department against Iraqis.”
Iraq is a close military ally of both the United States and Iran, which have battled for influence there since a U.S.-led invasion in 2003 toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.
Both countries supplied military support to Baghdad to fight against Islamic State militants from 2014-2017. The United States still has thousands of troops in Iraq, while Iran still supports the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).
The PMF congratulated Fayyad for his blacklisting in a statement late on Friday, saying that he had joined “the honorable ones whom the U.S. administration regards as enemies”. He was also praised by the Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah.