Iraqi Shi’ite Militias Will Participate in Mosul Offensive

Many Had Previously Objected to Involvement in Fight for Sunni City

Iraq’s major Shi’ite militia umbrella, the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), have announced that they will take part in the military’s offensive against the ISIS-held city of Mosul, saying they are experts in guerrilla warfare and prepared to fight house to house against ISIS.

The use of the militias in the almost exclusively Sunni area has been wildly unpopular among Shi’ites, who believe they would be fighting for a city whose residents hate them, and would be greeted with hostility by both they and the ISIS fighters.

Mosul has been dominated by ISIS for nearly two years now, and the Iraqi military’s offensive against it stalled with the capture of only three villages, with the military since announcing the operation to be on hold pending the arrival of reinforcements.

With the Iraqi military spread thin, and low morale meaning the troops flee at the first sign of trouble, it’s unsurprising that the Iraqi government is seeking the militias’ help in the offensive, though it remains to be seen how willing the constituent militias within than umbrella will be to commit large numbers of troops to the unpopular battle.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.