Iran-backed Since the defeat of Daesh, Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi has dominated all sectors of Iraqi society, according to experts.
According to an expert on Iran-backed militias, Iraq’s Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi, or Popular Mobilization Forces, have grown to dominate all sectors of society in the country.

Award-winning journalist and broadcaster Baria Alamuddin stated the militia coalition dominated the country militarily, politically, economically, and ideologically during the launch of her book “Militia State” at the Royal United Services Institute in London.

According to Alamuddin, the Hashd was formed as a result of the post-2014 conflict with Daesh. Militias such as the Badr Brigades, formed by post-revolutionary Iran during the 1980 Iran-Iraq conflict, are part of the coalition.

“Since the collapse of Daesh in 2017, these militias have pushed the Kurdish Peshmerga out of central Iraq and have come to control all levels of society in these areas,” she claimed.

“What do I mean when I say ‘dominate’?” First and foremost, this entails military dominance. Paramilitary forces have a strong presence in central regions such as Diyala, Salah Al-Din, and Nineveh.”

The militias also wield political power in Iraq, according to Alamuddin, “both at the central Baghdad level by flooding particular ministries and critical positions with militia members, and at the provincial level.”

Then there’s the issue of economic dominance. “Militia leaders profited handsomely from their military superiority. “Muslim economic offices abound in Mosul, where political connections are used to drain millions of dollars in rehabilitation monies,” she claimed.

Alamuddin likened Hashd militias to criminals, claiming that they “systematically plunder local companies and collect millions of cash via unlawful checkpoints or smuggling, especially narcotic smuggling.”

“90 percent of customs income due to the country’s treasury are practically plundered by these militias,” the author stated, quoting Iraqi Finance Minister Ali Allawi.
The militias are also ideologically dominant, going “into the education sector and attempting to control Iraq’s cultural and theological institutions.”

“The dominance of Iran-backed militias in Iraq is painfully reminiscent of what happened under Hezbollah in my home country of Lebanon,” she remarked. “Wherever these militias exist, it’s occurring in Syria and Yemen.”

Alamuddin went on to say that the emergence of “Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi as a state-sponsored force” was a “great victory” for Iran because “rather than having to support these groups, the Iraqi state now funds them with roughly $2 billion per year.”
“Sovereignty, freedom, territorial integrity, and international law are not inherent traits that spontaneously triumph,” she argued, citing the crises in Ukraine, Iraq, and Syria as examples.
Rather, they are “basic ideas for which millions of peace-loving citizens are currently demonstrating their willingness to die for and defend.”

Nomad Publishing released “Militia State” on March 24.

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