Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi praised known terrorist Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis during a meeting with him Thursday, and published pictures of the two of them together on his official Twitter account.
According to the defense minister’s website, al-Obeidi “expressed his appreciation for the [PMF’s] … sacrifices that have contributed to strengthen the effort on Daesh [ISIS],” during the meeting in Iraq’s capital of Baghdad.
Al-Obeidi also tweeted a picture of he and al-Muhandis, who was designated as a terrorist by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in 2009 for his role in destabilizing the Iraqi government and attacking U.S forces.
— Dr. Khalid Al-Obeidi (@khalid_alobeidi) January 14, 2016
As the former commander of Kataib Hezbollah, a Shia extremist group with links to Iran, al-Muhandis and his group “committed, directed, supported, or posed a significant risk of committing acts of violence against Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces” according to a Treasury press release.
Al-Muhandis now heads up a faction of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). The PMF is an umbrella organization of predominantly Iraqi Shia Muslim forces that have been working with the Iraqi government in its fight against ISIS. Though it has reportedly been useful in countering ISIS, the PMF has also been accused committing mass murder of Sunnis in several Iraqi cities.
“[Al-Muhandis] is funded, backed and paid for by Iran,” Michael Pregent, a fellow at the Hudson Institute and a former military intelligence officer who operated in Iraq, told The Daily Caller News Foundation,”he is responsible for American deaths.”
Pregent said al-Muhandis continues to work closely with Qassem Soleimani, leader of Iran’s Quds Force, the paramilitary organization responsible for covert operations across the Middle East. He notes that the meeting between al-Obeidi and al-Mouhandis shows that Iraq is becoming more beholden to Iran.
According to Pregent, Iran does not plan to defeat ISIS, but to create a land corridor to the Shia crescent, an area that crosses several countries in the Middle East where a large portion of Shia Muslims live.
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