Prominent Iraqi Shia cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani on Friday called for the integration of volunteer fighters who took part in Iraq’s recent fight against Daesh into government institutions.
In a Friday sermon, a spokesman for al-Sistani said: “Iraqi volunteers who took part in the war against the Daesh terrorist group must be absorbed into official organizations.”
"To ensure security across the country,” he asserted, “we need numerous personnel -- especially those who have already contributed to the defense of Iraq.”
He added: “We must utilize these energies within a constitutional and legal framework.”
After Daesh overran vast swathes of Iraq in mid-2014, many Shia clerics called on all citizens able to carry weapons to fight alongside federal security forces with a view to eliminating the terrorist threat.
But in recent months, Daesh has suffered a string of crushing defeats in both Iraq and Syria, prompting Iraqi officials to declare that the group no longer had a “military presence” in the country.
In the same Friday sermon, al-Sistani’s representative also called for all weapons in the country to be kept in the hands of the state.
“The abundance of weapons now in Iraq must be brought under the federal government’s control,” he asserted.