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Sadrist-led government will dilute the power of the PMF, source says

Category: Iraq News

Date: 2021-12-28T21:16:41+0000
Sadrist-led government will dilute the power of the PMF, source says

Shafaq News/ The Sadrist movement will utilize the clout of the national government it is seeking to form to scale down the leverage of al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces-PMF), a source close to al-Hanana, the headquarters of the Sadrist movement's leader Muqtada al-Sadr, revealed on Tuesday. 

The movement of the maverick leader secured more than a fifth of the parliament seats,73 out of the assembly's total 329, well ahead of the 17 seats of al-Fatah (Conquest) Alliance, the political wing of the pro-Iran PMF. 

That outcome was sharply down from the Alliance's 48 seats in the outgoing assembly. PMF leaders denounced the result as a "fraud".

They took their case to the Supreme Federal Court seeking to have the results annulled because of "serious violations", their lawyer said earlier in December when the hearing began. 

However, Iraq's Supreme Court yesterday ratified the results of an October parliamentary election and rejected appeals lodged by Iran-backed Shiite factions, derailing their attempt to overturn a vote in which they performed poorly.

The ruling allows the newly elected parliament to convene at last, and sets the stage for intensified negotiations to replace outgoing Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and his cabinet. 

Al-Sadr has said he will ally himself with whoever puts Iraq's national interests first. That is an indication, Iraqi officials and Western diplomats say, that he may exclude some Iran-backed Shiite groups in favor of parties with cross-sectarian support. 

The who preferred to remain anonymous source told Shafaq News Agency, "the government will deal with the PMF in accordance with an agenda the largest bloc will announce later."

"The largest bloc will decrease the financial allocations of al-Hashd al-Shaabi," the source said, "a proposal suggests merging the regularized members into security and military agencies." 

The Iran-aligned factions, which are the most powerful in the PMF, have since Islamic State's defeat in 2017 expanded their military, political and economic power and attacked bases housing the 2,500 remaining U.S. forces in Iraq.

They have allies in parliament and government and a grip over some state bodies, including security institutions.

Those factions are also accused of killing protesters who took to the streets in late 2019 demanding the removal of Iraq's ruling elite. The groups deny involvement in activist killings.

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