The Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) ordered on Monday the withdrawal of its forces from Iraqi cities,mainly areas liberated from ISIS in the provinces of Salahuddin, Anbar and Nineveh.
The Iran-backed PMF also ordered the closure of its offices in cities seized from ISIS.
“PMF headquarters will be moved outside of liberated cities, and all offices under any name linked to the PMF will be closed in the liberated areas,” read an official document issued Monday by the Deputy Commander of the forces, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
He also warned that the brigades who remain loyal and committed to their supporting sides would be dealt with as a rogue force.
Armed groups expert Dr. Hisham al-Hashemi on Monday expressed doubt that the decision to pull out of several Iraqi cities was purely local.
“It is rather linked to separate meetings held between Omani officials and each of US and Iranian officials amid talks on the withdrawal of Iranian forces from Syria and on curbing Iran’s influence in Iraq,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Politically, analysts said that Kurds and Sunnis have been playing with the nerves of Shiite blocs wishing to form the next government.
A meeting was held Sunday between the two principal Kurdish parties (Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) and the newly formed Sunni Arab ‘National Axis Alliance’ to discuss the formation of the new cabinet.
During the meeting, both sides agreed to continue collaboration “for active participation in the political process in implementing and taking into consideration the principles that can serve partnership of all the components in the next Iraqi government.”