Reuters is quoting Iraqi military officials who say that Prime Minister Hayder Abadi has hatched a plot aimed at greatly reducing the size and strength of Shi’ite militias in the country by tricking them out of heavy arms, a plot which probably is going to be greatly complicated by the fact that it’s been publicized.
Sources say the army is currently inventorying the heavy arms in the hands of the assorted militia forces and the plan is to take a bunch of those arms under the pretext of them needing “repairs” after the ISIS fight, and then just never giving them back.
On top of that, the government will be declaring broad swathes of the fighters in these forces to be “physically unfit,” ordering them removed from the militias, with a goal of getting the now 150,000 militia fighters down to about 75,000.
The US and other Western countries have been pushing Abadi to weaken the Shi’ite militias after the ISIS war, and this is apparently how he will go about it. Given how politically influential those militias are, however, it’s not clear Abadi can do this if the militias decide not to let him.