A hotel in Beirut was the scene of a series of secret meetings Aug. 8-11 between a diplomatic delegation that included representatives from Western countries and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and a delegation composed of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) leaders. The meetings were not covered in the media and no press statements were issued; the outcomes of the discussions were not made public. However, Al-Monitor was able to meet with a PMU faction leader who participated in those meetings at a hotel he was staying at in Beirut’s surroundings. The leader spoke on condition of anonymity about the meetings in Beirut and the situation in Baghdad.

The meetings were kept secret for several reasons, including security considerations so as to ensure the safety of the members of the Western delegation and Iraqi attendees that included military officials. Also, it is worth noting that the relations between the PMU and the countries represented in the delegation are not public.

The PMU delegation left Beirut feeling more confident about its position and its future. The PMU leader promised Al-Monitor more advanced political developments in the relationship between the PMU and the West after the liberation of Mosul. “If liberating Fallujah brought us to Beirut, what will the liberation of Mosul bring?” he said.

The PMU was represented by a delegation of 12 people, representing most of the PMU leaderships in Iraq including brigades’ commanders, politicians and officials in charge of the various activities of our team. The other party was composed of a large number of Western diplomats from several countries, including Norway, Spain, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Italy and Germany, as well as representatives of NGOs and of course the UN organization that launched the initiative. Each of these delegations was composed of one or more officials from [the country’s] foreign ministry, as well as one or more diplomats from the countries’ embassies in Beirut or Baghdad.

Read More: al-Monitor

Featured Image – Iraqi Army and Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces of Iraq) fighting against the Daesh ‘Islamic State‘ in Saladin Governorate – Wikimedia Commons