Deputy chief of the Popular Mobilization Forces Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes announced Thursday the formation of the air force directorate, weeks after growing air strikes against PMF locations in Baghdad and other provinces that its officials have blamed on Israel.
An official letter said that Salah Mahdi Hantoush was appointed acting director of the air force directorate.
The order was signed by the PMF deputy chief and not by Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi or PMF chief and national security adviser Faleh Fayyad, a sign of growing inter-PMF disputes.
Last month, Mohandes held Israel responsible for the blasts on PMF camps and depots, threatening to respond to the attacks.
However, Fayyad respected the position of the Iraqi government, and said he would wait for the release of final results of investigations conducted by a fact-finding committee tasked with probing the explosions.
Iraqi security expert Hashem al-Hashemi said the formation of a new air force is an embarrassment for the Iraqi PM, mainly if the air defense system was bought without the approval of the Defense Ministry.
“Only Iranians will accept to sell weapons to the PMF without coordinating with the Defense Ministry,” the expert said.
Meanwhile, Iraqi Defense Minister Najah Al-Shammari referred on Thursday several officers and commanders to military courts on corruption charges.
In a brief statement, the Ministry said: “Defense Minister Najah Al-Shammari ordered the transfer of some high-ranking officers and commanders to the competent military courts on charges related to corruption.”