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Shiite militias prepare for education 'revolution' in Iraq

Shiite militias within Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) are attempting to establish separate PMU universities, which some see as an attempt to bring Iranian influence to Iraq.
Iraqi Shi'ite Muslims from Hashid Shaabi (Popular Mobilization) march during a parade marking the annual al-Quds Day, or Jerusalem Day, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in Baghdad, Iraq July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily - RTX2J7WU

BAGHDAD — Iraqi universities have recently become the scene of military and political maneuvers by the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU). In a response to this development, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Abdul Razzaq al-Issa announced April 14, "We are determined to remove the heads of the universities who do not maintain the independence that threatens the identity of the Iraqi academic institution. Universities will not be part of political calculations.”

Sheikh Qais al-Khazali, the head of Asaib Ahl al-Haq (League of the Righteous), made a statement March 18 calling for the establishment of the Popular Mobilization Units University, warning against any possible plot to distance the PMU from the Iraqi arena.

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