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Prime Minister issues order to more closely integrate PMF with military

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On 1 July, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi issued a decree that essentially ordered the PMF to integrate more closely with ISF. “In the interest of the public good and as per the powers granted to us by the constitution … the following is decreed: all Popular Mobilisation Forces are to operate as an indivisible part of the armed forces and be subject to the same regulations,” the decree said. The order called for all PMF organizations to sever political ties as part of their integration into the military. Any militias that do not conform by 31 July will reportedly be considered outlawed, and their facilities will be shut down. This decree was undoubtedly influenced by the recent spike in US-Iran tensions and the associated spike in indirect fire attacks against US interests in Iraq between 13-17 June.

Although strongly worded, the impact of the order is initially unclear, with it unlikely that the PMF will be outright disbanded. Previous efforts to further integrate the PMF with the military involved opportunistic PMF demands for increased funding and equipment allocations. Relatedly, the leaders of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq and Kataeb Hezbollah both issued statements welcoming the move, which may in effect assist these groups and other Iranian proxies consolidate power. The end result may more closely resemble the consolidation and rebranding of PMF units including those with Iranian ties.

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