When Militia Turns into Army
21 August 2016
By Salman Al-dossary
Two days after the leakage of an official ministerial order issued by Iraqi
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, which states that the Shiite militia, known as
the Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces), will officially become part
of the Iraqi army and will play a similar role as the current Iraqi
counter-terror agency, Head of militia Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada Abu Ala al-Waeli
said that this militia is formed in link with Velayat-e faqih in Iran (Wilayat
al-Faqih) and not to floundering of politicians in Iraq.
This frank announcement summarizes the chaotic and terrifying situation
reached by Iraq, which not only has faced the regular Iranian interference in
its internal affairs and Tehran's control over Baghdad's decisions in the Arab
League, but also is experiencing a cloned new Revolutionary Guards that
structurally follows the Commander in Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces, while –
actually – follow the orders given by Qassem Soleimani, leader of the Iranian
Notably, Soleimani is the field leader for the Iraqi Popular Mobilization
forces, and he receives orders directly from Iran's Supreme Leader Ali
Perhaps what is deplorable is that the majorities of Iraqi Shiite militias are
loyal to Khamenei rather than to the Iraqi reference Ali al-Sistani.
Inimitable countries that look into the future with insightful vision in order
to preserve the society and prevent the risk of civil wars do not allow the
establishment of militias despite the purpose of their formation and do not
grand armed groups authority over the state powers.
What if these militias were originally sectarian and factional?
Regarding the attempt of Iraqi government to turn the Shiite militia forces,
which is the first informal military power formed in Iraq's modern history
since the establishment of the army in 1921, into an official army instead of
integrating it with army forces and police, this will ignite a fire that will
be very difficult to set off by Iraqis themselves.
This attempt will also contribute in expanding chaos and deepening sectarian
division in the country.
Instead of fighting ISIS and
extremist Sunni groups, the world will find itself in another fight against
extremist Shiite militias, which extremism of course differ in structure.
However, Popular Mobilization forces differ from other militias and are
distinguished as they fall under the government's umbrella, in which they are
armed, financed and politically supported.
In addition to that, these militias increase tension and sectarianism in the
country and are not controlled by the government.
For instance, when revising the statement issued by leader of the League of
the Righteous (Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq) militia Qais Khazali after revoking Bahraini
nationality from Issa al-Qassem, the militia's leader said that his militia is
thinking about interfering in Gulf States.
He said back then: ''Large part of Resistance factions' formations believe
that their second duty, in addition to the Hashd al-Shaabi, is supporting
people in Bahrain, al-Ahsa and Qatif in case the enemy crossed the red
The real danger facing the whole region is that more than 20 Iraqi armed
militias form together the Popular Mobilization, including Badra, Kataib
Hezbollah, Saraya al-Khorasani, Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq and others.
All these militias are officially, religiously and ritually linked to Iranian
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, which comes in line with Iran's strategy to
empower militias to overcome the state's official forces aiming at maintaining
its interests and power.
Moreover, by Iran dividing the Iraqi army and establishing an equivalent force
that dominates the official army in equipment and number, it is allowing
itself to continue controlling Iraq politically and militarily.
This is what United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs
Jeffrey D. Feltman confirmed in his report, which stated that: ''Iran has
violated international law by sending weapons to militias in Iraq.''
The world has underestimated calls that warned from ISIS's terrorism when it
was barely found and did not wake up until this terrorist organization has
expanded to all continents and is spreading terror.
Popular Mobilization is another copy for ISIS, yet it is hiding its terrorism
One day, the world will wake up to witness the expansion of the Hashd al-Shaabi,
which follows the path of Iranian Revolutionary Guards militia, Hezbollah and
Terrorism will expand even more as long as the world criminalizes Sunni
terrorist groups while turning a blind eye for the Shiite terrorist groups.
Salman Aldosary is the editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.