A screengrab shows Aws al-Khafaji, commander of the Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas Brigade (MEMRI TV)

February 9, 2019

An official with the Iraqi government-sanctioned umbrella of mainly Shia paramilitary groups said a militia commander was arrested after he criticised Iran’s influence in the country.

The official from the Popular Mobilisation Forces said on Friday that Aws al-Khafaji, commander of the Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas Brigade, was detained the previous night.

Al-Khafaji had earlier told a local TV station that Iraqis should not only oppose American and Turkish presence in Iraq but also Iran’s interference.

A statement from the Popular Mobilisation Forces said four Baghdad offices of al-Khafaji’s group were closed because they were located in residential neighbourhoods. It said members were arrested after rejecting the closure.

AP/ Arab Weekly 

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Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.