The popular mobilization forces have been widely controversial in Iraq since their inception in June 2014. Public opinion has focused on the legitimacy of these irregular forces, their activities and the possible illegal killings committed by them in the fight against the Islamic State (IS). In light of the dire need for these forces in the ongoing conflict on the one hand, and lapses in disciplined behavior among their ranks on the other, Iraqis remain conflicted about them.
Reports occasionally appear about violations and abuses by the mobilization forces on the battlefield and off it. At the same time, however, one cannot deny their contribution to hindering IS’ progress toward the central and southern areas of the country. In addition, the forces have also recently made offensive advances against IS, improving their reputation in the public's eye and in the Iraqi political arena.