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Iraq releases Iran-aligned commander Qasim Mahmoud Muslih

Iraq has released an Iran-aligned armed group commander who was previously arrested in May on terrorism-related charges. According to Iraqi officials, authorities were unable to find sufficient evidence against the commander, Qasim Mahmoud Muslih. Muslih was released at 8 am on Wednesday. His supporters gathered to greed him in Baghdad, celebrating his release. Muslih is from the southern holy city of Karbala and was arrested on May 26. There were few details released pertaining to Muslih’s arrest a the time, according to officials.

Muslih is the head of the Popular Mobilisation Forces in the Anbar province. Muslih’s arrest was allegedly linked to attacks on US forces stationed in Iraq, however, there was not enough evidence to link Muslih. Some media outlets reported that the arrest was due to his involvement in the killing of peaceful pro-democracy activists, although neither motive for arrest has been confirmed. Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has publicly opposed Iran-backed militias and parties, meaning that Muslih’s release without prosecution is a blow to Kadhimi’s efforts to restrict the militias’ power and conduct a crackdown on armed groups.

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