Iraq's Shiite Militias Are Just Getting Started

(Foreign Policy) Anchal Vohra - The Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), the umbrella organization of Shiite militias in Iraq, has emerged as a powerful political actor. Following Ayatollah Sistani's 2014 fatwa calling on Iraqis to take up arms against the Islamic State, and with weapons and military training provided by Iran, they fought the terrorist group with fanatical zeal - and the victory has empowered them like never before. Now, they are pushing officials in Baghdad to end the Kurds' aspiration for independence and to curtail the U.S.-Iraqi partnership. Iraq's Iran-backed militias are determined to hold on to the power that their members have fought and died to acquire. By building political power in Baghdad, the PMF hopes to increase their access to Iraq's patronage networks - which means jobs in the security services or a government ministry. By wresting the oil fields around Kirkuk from the Kurds, the PMF and their allies are dramatically enlarging the revenues available to Baghdad.

2017-10-20 00:00:00

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