Report: Iran-Backed Iraqi Militias in Chaos after Leaders' Killing

(Middle East Eye-UK) Suadad al-Salhy - Iranian-backed Iraqi armed factions are distracted and unable to effectively strike American forces in Iraq after the loss of two key leaders last week, Shia leaders have told Middle East Eye. Local commanders said they are now almost paralyzed. "What happened was a surprise and a nightmare. To lose both men at the same time was a shock to all of us," one commander said. Qasem Soleimani was the field commander for all the armed factions fighting on Tehran's behalf in the Middle East, while Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of the Hashd al-Shaabi, was seen as the godfather of the Iraqi fighters and the founder of most of their armed factions. With their loss, the factions have lost their confidence and ability to work together, say multiple sources. "Muhandis kept all the financial, administrative and military powers of the [Hashd al-Shaabi] in his hands to maintain his dominance over everyone around him," a prominent Hashd commander said. As a result, commanders say, it is now extremely difficult to replace him. The accuracy of the U.S. attack and its reliance on intelligence has left faction leaders with a strong feeling that the U.S. has penetrated their ranks and will now terminate them, one by one.

2020-01-09 00:00:00

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