Prime Minister’s leaked memo reveals Baghdad’s anger as Qataris try to pay militias $500m in cash seized at Baghdad airport
Given that all militias in Syria and Iraq are highly criminalised, the money would presumably have to be shared out among all of those involved as well as with some of their outside sponsors.
Mr Abadi is clearly angry at the way in which Iraq has been caught up in the complicated manoeuvres of foreign powers like Qatar, Iran, Lebanese Hezbollah and a variety of Iraqi and Syrian private armies. He says that “allowing [the Qataris] to deliver big money to armed groups in Iraq, and perhaps also to terrorist groups is to fuel the war.”
The affair has not ended since the Iraqi government now has half a billion dollars whom very violent paramilitary groups and their sponsors were expecting to be paid to them. These are often described as militias, though in fact they are heavily-equipped private armies who pose as community defenders, but are frequently guns-for-hire for foreign states and for their own enrichment. They will not resign themselves easily to the loss of the contents of the 23 bags confiscated at Baghdad airport.