Iraq PM Issues a Decree Aiming to Curb Autonomy of Shi’ite Militias

Aims to fully integrate militias into the Iraqi military

In a move that threatens to upset the balance of power among Shi’ite groups within Iraq, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has issued a decree demanding that all militia groups totally integrate into the Iraqi military by month’s end.

Such decrees have been proposed before but never followed through on. The militias are all part of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), an auxiliary to the Iraqi military. The groups are also independent and many are heavily political aligned, both within Iraq and with factions abroad.

The decree would force all groups to abandon their political ties and join the military outright. Those who don’t want to do that are meant to disarm and simply engage in politics as unarmed factions.

Abdul Mahdi’s order is likely meant to placate US demands to crack down on “Iranian proxies,” which is generally what the US calls the PMF militias who are Shi’ite.

In the past, major Shi’ite blocs in the government have tried to fold the militias directly into the military, which the political leadership controls anyhow. This is often proposed around elections, but generally is ignored by the groups, and the leadership never really follows through on imposing it.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of