The integration of the popular crowd in the Iraqi army .. a difficult task despite the pressure | Politics and Economy -

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As the Iraqi government seeks to mediate in the US-Iran crisis, Washington's pressure on Baghdad increases in order to realize its desire to disband the Iranian-backed Popular Forces, or integrate them into the Iraqi army. Iraqi media sources said that the United States postponed the planned visit of Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to Washington on Monday 22 July 2019, noting that the reason for the postponement of the visit is what the US administration, "Tsuif Abdul Mahdi, achieving the desire of America to resolve the militia crowd And try to dissolve them in the armed forces"He said.

Earlier this month, Abdul Mahdi issued a decree ordering the merging of the grassroots factions into the official armed forces, two weeks after the first attack in several attacks on Iraqi bases hosting US troops and on a site used by a US energy company. No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but local officials have blamed the militant Shiite factions for one. There was no comment from Iran.

The new Iraqi decision to integrate the popular mobilization forces into the regular armed forces raises questions about the reasons for this decision and the timing of its issuance, and raises doubts among some experts that it can actually be achieved.

why now?
The writer in political affairs, Yasser al-Jassim, said that Abdul-Mahdi's decision came under US pressure to deter the growing popular crowd since its formation. Al – Jassim said during his participation in the program "Iraq Today" from Arab: "The issuance of the resolution shows that the American pressure is bearing fruit"He said.

Iran Adel Abdel Mahdi zu Gast bei Hassan Rouhani (picture-alliance / AP Photo / Iranian Presidency Office)

Will the Mahdi decree succeed in dissolving the popular mobilization forces and reducing Iranian influence in Iraq?

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Iraqi leaders during a surprise visit to Baghdad in May that if they could not curb the Iranian-backed factions, the United States would "respond strongly"He said.

The security analyst Hashim al-Hashemi, who advises the Iraqi government, indicates that the affiliation of the popular crowd to the official organs of Iraq means that any attack on these factions will be calculated as an attack on Iraq. Hashemi said in an interview with Reuters that the main difference between the decree of Abdul Mahdi and another similar decree put forward by his predecessor Haider Abadi is the timing, adding that the decision of Abbadi "did not come into force"He said.

Is the popular mobilization of regular forces possible?
Political analyst Yasir al-Jassim estimates that the integration of the popular mobilization forces into the Iraqi security forces is "very difficult at the moment." He asks: "What is the ability of the Iraqi state to implement such a decision taking into account that the crowd is stronger than the regular army inside Iraq"He said.

The popular mobilization forces, founded by a fatwa issued by the supreme Shiite cleric Ali al-Sistani in 2014, Played a prominent role in defeating the organization "Dahesh." It also has considerable influence in Iraqi politics. The troops follow the prime minister, who is the commander of the armed forces, but the new decree compels the factions that make up the crowd to choose between political or military action.

Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whose political faction occupied the first place in the recent parliamentary elections, welcomed Abdul Mahdi's decree and urged his armed faction to integrate into the armed forces. Sadr himself describes himself as a nationalist opposed to the influence of Washington and Iran.

"The crowd is two groups, the first group consists of those who followed Sistani's fatwa, they are loyal to Iraq, and the second group follows Iran, which is an organization and can not," explains political analyst Wathiq al-Hashemi. controlling her"He said.
According to the decree, those who choose to integrate into the ranks of the army have to give up all the names they have worked in and cut off any association with the political factions. Those who choose political action will not be allowed to carry weapons. The decree provided for the closure of all military headquarters, offices and checkpoints of the armed factions. The factions were given until the end of July to comply with the new controls.

Political writer Yasir al-Jassem believes that one of the most important details not mentioned in Abdul Mahdi's decision is the issue of weapons in the hands of the crowd. "The problem is that he did not say where the weapons would go,"He said. Al-Jassem warns that even if Abdul-Mahdi could merge the factions with the regular forces, "the crowd will be inside the army, but it will be stronger than the regular forces and therefore it may control it, if there is no clear vision of the state," as he put it, "The decision may be made by the leaders of the crowd, not by the commanders of the Iraqi army"He said.

Mohieddin Hussein

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