Irish MEPs appear in video promoting militias accused of Iraq atrocities

Irish MEPs appear in video promoting militias accused of Iraq atrocities
Video footage has surfaced showing two Irish MEPs visiting a headquarters of the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces militia, which has committed human rights abuses before, and praising the group.
3 min read
09 April, 2021
Clare Daly appeared in a hijab in the video [YouTube Screengrab / Twitter]
Two Irish members of the European Parliament have appeared in a YouTube video used to promote the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) militia coalition, the Irish news site reported on Thursday.

The Iran-backed PMF coalition, which is also known as Al-Hashed Al-Shaabi and includes some 70 different militias, has been accused of crimes and atrocities against civilians by rights groups before.

The video showed Clare Daly and Mike Wallace, two left-wing MEPs, visiting a headquarters of the PMF in Iraq.

In the video, which reports was uploaded on 30 March, Daly, who was donning the Islamic hijab, says "Hashed al-Shaabi upholds international law, which is basically what was explained to us. And yet the United States and many European countries – and, obviously the terrorists – have flagrantly violated international law on many occasions."

However, Amnesty International and other human rights groups have accused PMF militias, which are mainly Shia, of committing massacres on a sectarian basis and abducting and "forcibly disappearing civilians" during Iraq's campaign against the Islamic State extremist group.

Read also: Iraq Report - Shia militias fill mass graves, then blame IS

PMF militias have also been accused of killing protesters and activists following the outbreak of anti-corruption protests in Iraq in 2019.

The visit was believed to have taken place in April or May 2020, a few weeks after the US carried out five strikes against bases belonging to Kata’ib Hezbollah, one of the most prominent militias in the PMF coalition.

Kata’ib Hezbollah and other Iran-backed militias have carried out rocket attacks against US bases in Iraq.

In the video, Wallace discusses the presence of US forces in Iraq.

"They should leave the country. There should be no foreign forces here," he says.

Last Wednesday, following a US-Iraqi "strategic dialogue" meeting, the US agreed to withdraw all its combat troops from Iraq but US forces will still provide training to Iraqi troops.

This is not the first time Daly and Wallace have promoted controversial Iran-backed groups and regimes in the Middle East.

In the video, Daly accuses the US of backing IS, in line with a conspiracy theory often promoted by Iranian media.

"It is a disgrace that the terrorists who entered Iraq, and were involved in Iraq, were facilitated by the United States and by western powers and, as you say, terrorists who came from all over the world," she says.

Daly has previously invited Feras Shehabi, a member of the Syrian regime’s parliament who has  made sexist smears against female Syrian opposition journalists, to speak at the Irish parliament.

Wallace has also previously promoted Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon, writing on Twitter: "[The group] helps poor people survive" in crisis-hit Lebanon.

Hezbollah supporters have previously attacked people protesting against unemployment and government corruption in Lebanon.

A European Parliament spokesperson told that the two MEPs’ visit was carried out in a private capacity and they were not representing the parliament.

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