Iranian officials and Shiite authorities in Najaf reacted in June 2014 to the rapid advances of the Islamic State (IS) and its conquest of Iraqi cities by quickly organizing paramilitary forces. The Quds Force of Iran led by Qasem Soleimani quickly established dozens of paramilitary groups, mostly Shiite ones, to prevent IS from further expanding its forces. And during the past three months, the Shiite paramilitary forces, alongside the Iraqi army, started a series of offensive operations and managed to take back certain important cities. including Ramadi and Tikrit.
However, defeating the IS forces in Iraq is only a short-term goal for these Iran-led Shiite groups. They have negotiated with, and have put political pressure on, the Iraqi government to buy themselves legitimacy. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi officially announced that Hashid Shaabi Popular Mobilization Units) “is an official political party and a pillar of the Iraqi government.” Therefore, a budget has been allocated for Hashid Shaabi in the 2015 Iraqi budget. Hashid Shaabi forces number between 60,000 and 90,000.