MP: government moves towards amending mobilization forces law

Al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units)

Baghdad ( The Iraqi government is moving towards amending the law regulating the operation of paramilitary forces that have fought Islamic State militants alongside government troops since 2014.

Jassem al-Bayati, a member of the State of the Law coalition, which comprises Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s Islamic Daawa Party, said the government was tilting to making changes to the law governing the Popular Mobilization Forces.

He said in statements on Wednesday that the law “includes articles that are difficult to implement”, adding that those articles “strip the supreme commander of the armed forces, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, from some mandates and powers”.

Bayati said the government’s agenda includes sending a draft of changes to the PMF law to the parliament to ensure that the prime minister is able to “provide the best service to the fighters and their families”.

He did not set a date for submitting the draft.

PMFs were formed based on a religious edict by Iraq’s top Shia clergy in 2014 to combat Islamic State members who overcame government troops and declared a self-styled “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria.

The alliance of nearly 60, mostly Shiite, troops, won official recognition as a national force late 2016. The law puts the PMF under the prime minister’s command.

PMFs have regularly faced domestic and foreign accusations of committing human rights violations and operating outside the government’s directives, but Abadi has persistently rebuffed the accusations.

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