Adel abdul-Mahdi - Iraq News - Adil Abdul-Mahdi al-Muntafiki

The Iraqi government’s move this week to place Iranian-backed militias under the command of the armed forces is a political gamble by a prime minister increasingly caught in the middle of a dangerous rivalry between Iran and the U.S, the two main power brokers in Iraq. Facing pressure from the U.S. to curb the militias, the move allows Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi to demonstrate a tough stance ahead of a planned visit to Washington, expected to take place in the coming weeks. It is unlikely, though, that he would be able to rein in the powerful Iran-supported militias, and he risks coming off as a weak and ineffective leader if he doesn’t. Besides having built credibility as an effective force against the Islamic State group, the mainly Shiite militias, known collectively as the Popular Mobilization Forces, are a significant political force, with government ministers and 48 seats in the 329-member parliament. The PMF “is among the parties that achieved victory for Iraq against (the Islamic State group), liberating Mosul and restoring security to the country. The time has come to organize their status in a legal way… meaning no weapons outside the framework of the state,” Abdul-Mahdi told reporters at a weekly news conference Tuesday. That’s a tough sell in a country awash with arms and militias, many of which operate outside the state’s control. The leaders of the larger militias, like Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Badr and the Peace Brigades, welcomed the decision, calling it a step in the rightContinue reading

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