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Proposed US sanctions on PMU put Iraq in tough spot

Proposed sanctions against factions of the Shiite-dominated Popular Mobilization Units would place the Iraqi government squarely in the middle of a tug of war between Iran and the United States.
Shi'ite Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) celebrate on the outskirts of Kirkuk, Iraq October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC14D2FF7B50
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The conflict between the United States and Iran is causing new problems for the Iranian-backed armed Shiite factions in Iraq. But cracking down on the militias might harm Washington’s interests in Baghdad and spark a crisis between the Iraqi government and the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).

While Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is trying to strike a balance to tame armed Shiite factions and earn US support, Iran hawks in Washington are seeking to add armed factions affiliated with the PMU to the list of terrorist organizations.

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