Newspaper: Iraqi mobilization forces engaged in arms control campaign

Al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units)

Baghdad ( Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has engaged the Shia-led force operating under his command in his campaign to limit weapons possession to the government.

London-based The New Arab quoted a high-profile Iraqi official saying that “Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has, eventually, agreed to engage the Popular Mobilization Forces in the government’s plan to limit weapons possession to the state”.

According to the official, “the role of mobilization factions will be to assist police and army forces in conducting raids and searches of properties in search for arms and explosives”.

According to the official, the participation of the mobilization forces comes as army and police troops used to complain to unreciprocal attitude to their orders by Arab tribes in the country’s  southern provinces. He added that, recently, there have been clashes between Iraqi troops seeking to disarm them or end their feuds with opposing tribes.

Abadi has recurrently reiterated his will to exclude weapons to the state in a bid to tighten security and curb violence which exacerbated with the emergence of Islamic State militants in 2014 and their takeover of a third of the country.

Mobilization forces were formed as per a call from Iraq’s top Shia clergy in 2014 to carry arms in face of IS militants. Composed of  tens of Shia factions, the force is believed to enjoy Iranian backing, and won official recognition as a national force late 2016.

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