Legalizing Iraq’s Shiite mobilization forces

Mashari Althaydi
Mashari Althaydi
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The Iraqi parliament has recently legalized the Popular Mobilization Units. With that, Iraq, as a state, will have slipped down a dark path.

The Popular Mobilization - and without any exaggerations or intimidation - is a structure that's deeply into Khomeini ideals, sectarianism and financial corruption. It wants to follow the example of its counterpart, the Revolutionary Guard, or the guards of Khomeini revolution in Iran. Iran's revolutionary guards are in control of the state as they're in control of arms, money, media outlets, hawza programs, ayatollahs, banks, ports, oil, gas, foreign policy and everything else.

Iraq is not like Iran despite attempts by former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his comrades among the leaders of Iraqi Shiite parties to transform it. There is the independent Kurdish bloc, the Peshmerga, with its government, region and army. There are also Arab Sunni powers and although they're dispersed now, this will not last forever as it's only due to current circumstances and this will end once the circumstances change. Finally, there is a big percentage of Iraqi civil nationalists who reject the governance of fundamental groups, whether Sunnis or Shiites, and they are the spirit of the awaited Iraq.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi would have gained glory and won the Iraqis' support and love if he had rejected this law legalizing the Popular Mobilization Units.

Unfortunately, he did not reject it but only minded it a little bit requesting them to be patient before approving it and transfering the law to the cabinet. However Shiite parties did not listen to him and the law was passed amid Sunni MPs and other MPs' boycotted the session. The law passed support from the MPs of Maliki's, Ammar al-Hakim's, Muqtada al-Sadr's and other Shiite leaders' blocs, and Abadi therefore giving their blessing for the move.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi would have gained glory and won the Iraqis' support and love if he had rejected this law legalizing the Popular Mobilization Units

Mshari Al Thaydi

All proposals to postpone passing the law were rejected and all suggestions to amend it were prohibited. Some Sunni MPs' suggestions proposed allotting 40 percent of the units' fighters to Sunni tribes.

Relentless attempts

Saleh al-Mutlaq, former deputy prime minister and leader of Al-Arabiya Coalition, said passing the law "ends the dream of the civil state which the Iraqis dream of." The law is dangerous and it seriously tampers with the structure of the Iraqi state and paves way for continuous strife that may conclude with dividing Iraq or sustaining tensions and civil war as it creates a perfect atmosphere for sectarianism and transform Iraq into a Shiite state where others, mainly Sunni Arabs live under mercy and tutelage of others - that is if they live at all.

There are relentless attempts to fortify the criminal sectarian mobilization forces from being legally pursued after its involvement in bloodshed and violent practices which resemble ISIS' has been proven. The approved law's fourth article allows the Popular Mobilization to militarily act to confront any armed practices and to protect the government and the regime.

Shiite Al-Fadila bloc MP Hassan al-Shammari had requested providing legal immunity to the Popular Mobilization forces if they fight against ISIS and liberate areas occupied by the latter.

This law "destroys national partnership" like Sunni powers and other powers in Iraq said. By the way, I do not know how "brother" Salim al-Jabouri, the Brotherhood Islamist figure who is the speaker of parliament, explains passing this poisonous law.

Peace be upon Iraq.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on November 28, 2016.


Saudi journalist Mshari Al Thaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Al Thaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists.

Last Update: Saturday, 19 November 2016 KSA 13:14 - GMT 10:14

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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