Skip to main content

Is Iran running Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units?

Some leaders and members of Iraq's PMU are heavily swayed by Iran, which is pressuring Iraq to distance itself from the United States.
Iraqi Shi'ite Muslims from Hashid Shaabi (Popular Mobilization) march during a parade marking the annual al-Quds Day, or Jerusalem Day, in Baghdad, Iraq June 23, 2017. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily - RTS18BPH

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei provided a range of advice during a recent meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. Khamenei advised Iraqis to be vigilant and not trust the United States, and called for “standing against the involvement of US forces under the pretext of training or other matters.”

In the June 20 meeting, he also warned of the danger of the United States and its allies' waging a campaign against the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), an Iraqi coalition of mostly Shiite militias backed by Iran, saying the United States seeks to compromise one of Iraq's key power components.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 for annual access.