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Iraq's PMU leaders 'resign' in preparation for elections

Several leaders in Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units have signaled that they are handing over control of their factions to the central government as they prepare to run in next year's elections, but some argue they will maintain their influence.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced Dec. 15 that his government had begun implementing its policy to bring all weapons in the country under state control, following a statement by the premier days earlier declaring the "end of the war" against the Islamic State (IS). 

Abadi's announcement came just hours after the speech that Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalai — spokesman of Iraq's Supreme Shiite leader Ali al-Sistani — gave on the same day, in which he called for the need to integrate "volunteers" — in reference to fighters of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) — “into the constitutional and legal framework that limits [the possession of] weapons to the state” so that the PMU fighters "are not exploited for political objectives.”

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