The United States said it was “unhelpful” that the militias had dubbed the operation to retake Iraq’s western province of Anbar “Labeyk Ya Hussein.” The name translates to “At your service, Hussein,” in honor of one of the most revered figures in Shi’ite Islam.
The name also provoked complaints from Iraqis in Anbar.
“This is extremely sectarian,” said unemployed resident Salam Ahmed, 41. “We have no more trust in them (the paramilitaries). They follow a foreign, Iranian agenda.”
State TV said the paramilitaries had renamed the campaign “Labeyk Ya Iraq” (At Your Service Iraq) on Wednesday. A spokesman for the paramilitary groups, known as Hashid Shaabi, said both names had “the same meaning.”
“Now we have opted for ‘Iraq’ and there is no problem,” Karim al-Nouri said.