Middle East World

Sat 17 October 2020:

Supporters of Hashed al-Shaabi, an Iraqi paramilitary network dominated by Iran-backed factions, Saturday burned down the main Kurdish party’s headquarters in Baghdad after criticism from a Kurdish ex-minister.

Hundreds of Hashed demonstrators swept past a security detail and stormed into the offices of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which runs the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq, and torched them.

Protesters burned Kurdish flags while others carried posters of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and his Iraqi lieutenant Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes, who were killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad last January.

Earlier this month, Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq’s longtime former foreign minister and a key Kurdish powerbroker, said the government needed to “clean up the Green Zone (in Baghdad) from the presence of Hashed militias.”

They were operating “outside the law,” Zebari, a KDP member, said in comments to the US-funded Al-Hurra television.

Vian Sabry, head of the KDP bloc in parliament, condemned Saturday’s attack.

The PMU militias were formed in 2014 from mostly-Shia armed groups and volunteers to fight ISIS.

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