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Tillerson tells Iranian-backed militias in Iraq to 'go home'

Sunday, October 22, 2017 - 01:17

Speaking in Saudi Arabia, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said ''Iranian militias that are in Iraq, now that the fight against Daesh and ISIS is coming to a close, those militias need to go home.'' Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Sunday (October 22) it was time for Iranian-backed militias and their Iranian advisers who helped Iraq defeat Islamic State to "go home" after a rare joint meeting with the leaders of Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The United States is concerned that Iran, a Shi'ite regional rival, will take advantage of gains against IS there and in Syria to expand the influence it gained after the U.S. invasion in 2003, something Sunni Arab states like Saudi Arabia also oppose. "Iranian militias that are in Iraq, now that the fight against Daesh and ISIS is coming to a close, those militias need to go home. The foreign fighters in Iraq need to go home and allow the Iraqi people to regain control," Tillerson said at a joint news conference with Saudi foreign minister Adel Jubeir. Tens of thousands of Iraqis heeded a call to arms in 2014 after IS seized a third of the country's territory, forming the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) which receive funding and training from Tehran and have been declared part of the Iraqi security apparatus. A senior U.S. official said Tillerson had been referring to the PMF and the Quds Force, the foreign paramilitary and espionage arm of the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Iraq's military, armed by the United States but supported by the PMF, ejected the ultra-hardline Sunni Muslim militant group from Mosul and other cities in northern Iraq this year. Several thousand U.S. troops are still in the country, mostly for training but also to carry out raids against IS. The campaign to uproot the militants left whole cities in ruins and has hit Iraq's economy. A new joint body between Iraq and Saudi Arabia convened an inaugural meeting earlier on Sunday to coordinate their fight against IS and on rebuilding Iraqi territory wrested from the group.

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Tillerson tells Iranian-backed militias in Iraq to 'go home'

Sunday, October 22, 2017 - 01:17