Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, May 26th, 2019

In Iraq’s Parliament, Shi’ite Militia Leaders Plan to Call the Shots

In Iraq’s Parliament, Shi’ite Militia Leaders Plan  to Call the Shots

BAGHDAD - In May, Hassan Fada’am traded his military fatigues for a suit when he became one of 45 Shi’ite militiamen elected to Iraq’s 329-seat parliament.
Fada’am trained as a soldier in Iran and fought against Islamic State in Iraq. Now he’s a politician as paramilitary groups backed by Iran have doubled their number of seats in Iraq’s parliament. The Fatih Alliance bloc that represents them has become the second largest political bloc.
In interviews, eight militiamen who have translated their battlefield success into electoral victories set out how they plan to use this new platform. Six months after the vote, Iraq’s new Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has yet to win parliamentary approval for his government. Yet already one thing is evident, the militia are better placed than ever to influence policies, from domestic security to foreign policy.
Mahdi’s predecessor as prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, has said he fears the militiamen will undermine efforts to unify Iraq. Its young democracy is trying to balance the demands of its Sunnis, Kurds and Shi’ites after years of sectarian conflict, and the economy is only beginning to recover from the country’s war with Islamic State. Abadi tried, unsuccessfully, to prevent militia leaders from standing in the 2018 election. (Reuters)