Iraqis Divided over Soleimani's Role

Unlike Majid, media figure Mohammed al-Shabaki, who supports Soleimani's presence in Iraq, told Al-Monitor, "Soleimani played a major role in the fight against terrorism. On Aug. 8, 2014, he rescued the city of Erbil from the IS threat, and he is the first military adviser to have arrived in Iraq from a neighboring country. He brought weapons and ammunition to stop IS' expansion toward Baghdad and to protect the city of Samarra."

Shabaki noted, "The recent division over Soleimani has a political aspect. For the Sadrist movement, this division stems from the conviction that some factions of the Popular Mobilization Units that are close to Soleimani did not support the movement in its protests against corruption and are thus against the movements project."

Regardless of the debate over Soleimani and his role in Iraq, his influence has become quite significant, not only on the battlefield against IS but on the Iraqi street as well. At the end of the day, Soleimani has links to armed factions such as the Badr Organization and the League of the Righteous, among others.

He enjoys the support of influential political blocs, such as the State of Law Coalition led by Vice President Nouri al-Maliki, though some prominent figures such as Iraqi parliament Speaker Salim al-Jubouri do reject Soleimani's presence in the country.


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