US concerned with Shia militia joining Iraqi army

The Iraqi government’s effort to integrate a Shia militia group in the country’s security forces is concerning as it might increase Iran’s influence with Baghdad, a U.S. general said Wednesday.

“It will increase obviously Shia — potentially Iranian — influence over the government of Iraq and we have to be concerned about it,” the head of Central Command, Gen. Joseph Votel said during a panel discussion at the Foreign Policy Initiative, a neoconservative Washington-based think tank.

Iraq’s parliament passed a law last weekend that formally recognized controversial Iran-backed Shia militia group, Hashed Al Shaabi, as an “independent military entity” operating within the Iraqi Army.

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