Iraq Shi’ite Militia’s Bloc Seeks Political Dominance

PMF leaders cheer Iran's election of Raisi as a boost

Experts say that the Hashd al-Shaabi bloc, which is both a Shi’ite political group and aligned with the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) militias, is fast on its way to becoming the dominant power in Iraqi politics.

The group is closely aligned with factions inside Iran, and is loudly cheering the election of Ebrahim Raisi to that country’s presidency last week, seeing the former judiciary chief as a likely supporter of regional Shi’ite alliances.

They see political gains as virtually inevitable, having integrated the PMF into the military and then focused on making this umbrella of parties a key bloc.

Shi’ite blocs do well in Iraq, of course, and analysts see this group’s Iran ties as giving it an advantage. That could be the case, though protesters have objected to political parties being too beholden to foreign powers, and may prefer more autonomous groups.

Experts say that the real obstacle for the bloc is Moqtada al-Sadr, who has his own independent militia, and his own powerful political bloc. Moving toward future elections, these are the powers likely to remain arrayed against one another.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.