The Iraqi government is facing a barrage of criticism from various faction leaders over the arrest of the pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) member Qasim Muslih, who has made “dangerous” confessions while still in custody.
A source close to the investigation team revealed that Muslim made “significant and rare” confessions about “dangerous violations”.
The investigators are now handling a “massive amount of information that are tantamount to the black box of the influential militias in Iraq and the political arms that they control,” he added.
Muslih’s confessions have helped reveal a list of assassinations that have targeted dozens of activists and journalists, he added. The assassinations were carried out by experienced gunmen affiliated with senior leaderships.
The same network has infiltrated the Iraqi security forces and has therefore guaranteed its immunity due to its presence in these institutions, continued the source.
Muslih has served as commander of PMF operations west of the Anbar province since 2017. He has also commanded the PMF-affiliated Brigade 13, known as al-Tafouf, in Karbala.
Moreover, the detainee has also confessed to major operations of fraud and the seizure of vital installations that extend to cities liberated from the ISIS terrorist group, said the source.
Muslih’s arrest has naturally made his allies anxious.
Head of the pro-Iran Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, Qais al-Khazali has made two televised appearances in twice as many days to criticize Muslih’s arrest.
In remarks on Wednesday, he said the government of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is adopting “clear policies that may lead to the rise of a police state.”
Moreover, he alleged that “some detainees, who are accused of corruption, have been forced to make confessions against top Iraqi politicians,” claiming that Muslih was assaulted.
A week earlier, head of the Fatih alliance, Hadi al-Ameri had said that Iraq was turning into a “dictatorship” and that detainees “were being tortured”.
Another leading Shiite figure said that Muslih’s confessions “put the government in a complicated position”, especially since Kadhimi’s rivals are exerting massive pressure to have him removed and replaced by an official who is close to the armed factions.
The figure, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the result of the current confrontation between the factions and Kadhimi depends completely on the how the investigations with Muslih will end and the way their results are announced.
The factions are closely watching the situation and “bracing for the worst”, he stressed.
The PMF, meanwhile, are preparing to hold a military parade on the seventh anniversary of top religious authority Ali al-Sistani’s call on them to fight ISIS in 2014.