by WorldTribune Staff, March 9, 2018
The Iran-linked Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) have been formally granted inclusion into Iraq’s security forces, a report said.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi issued a decree on March 8 that grants the PMU many of the same rights as members of the Iraqi military, Middle East Eye reported.
During the fight to oust Islamic State (ISIS) from Iraq, Amnesty International accused the PMU of committing war crimes.
The U.S.-led coalition did not provide aerial support for the PMU and pushed back against their participation in the battle for Mosul.
In October, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said it was time for the Iran-backed militias “to go home” as the fight against ISIS was winding down.
PMU members, which include more than 40 militias of mostly Shia fighters, will be granted salaries equivalent to the military under the Ministry of Defense’s control, the decree said. They will also be subject to the laws of military service and will gain access to military institutes and colleges.
“Iraq declared victory over the ISIS militants in December, but the militias, estimated to comprise more than 60,000 fighters, are still deployed in many of the predominantly Sunni areas that saw heavy fighting during the three-year war against ISIS,” the Middle East Eye report said.