Iraqi prime minister curbs powers of Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias

Popular Mobilization Forces

Baghdad ( – Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has ordered the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces to be an indivisible part of the regular army.

This came in a decree issued by Abdul-Mahdi Monday, in a move that apparently aims to curb the powers of the Shi’ite Muslim militias.

Under the decree, the Shi’ite militias would subject to the same regulations imposed on the regular army personnel and will operate as an indivisible part of the armed forces.

Abdul-Mahdi vowed that any armed faction working openly or secretly under the command of the Popular Mobilization Forces will be considered illegitimate if it violates the decree.

Popular Mobilization Forces, an alliance of volunteer Shia paramilitary forces, have actively backed the Iraqi government’s military campaign against IS since 2014, when they were formed upon a top Shia clergy edict to counter the Sunni Jihadist group.

PMF won official recognition as a national force late 2016, becoming under the command of the prime minister, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces.

Former prime minister Haider al-Abadi recurrently defended PMFs against domestic and foreign accusations of committing human rights violations.

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