chapter  8
16 Pages

With the Shia Militias in Iraq

WithJonathan Spyer

When Islamic State in Iraq and Syria had been heading eastwards into Iraq in the summer of 2014, a mobilization of the country's Shia militias had taken place. The Popular Mobilization Units or Hash'd al-Sha'abi formed a key element in the Iraq and Syria war against the Sunni jihadis. Some of the groups in question had emerged during the period of American occupation in Iraq, and were veterans of insurgency against the US. Others, such as the Badr Organization, had a longer pedigree as Iranian proxies. The Popular Mobilization was evidence of how weak central government had become in Iraq. The Iraqi Ministry of the Interior announced the formation of the Popular Mobilization Committee, to be headed by one Falih al-Fayyadh, who was also National Security Advisor to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, on June 15, 2014. Al-Muhandis's official position was deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization Units.