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Is Iran’s influence in Iraq waning?

Iran is formalizing its relationship with Baghdad as a strategic step in lessening the negative economic effects of US sanctions, but the pro-Iran PMU integrating into Iraqi armed forces leave some Iraqi leaders uneasy.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani waves his hand during a welcome ceremony at Salam Palace in Baghdad, Iraq March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Khalid al-Mousily - RC1D812E2710
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Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi issued a decree July 1 obliging the overwhelmingly pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) to fully integrate into the Iraqi armed forces. The move came amid growing concerns among Iraqi leaders that their country might turn into a battleground between Iran and the United States.

Referring to the increasing tensions between Tehran and Washington, Iraqi President Barham Salih said June 26 that his country is not willing to be dragged into a new conflict in the region. “We have had four decades of challenge and turmoil. We do not want to be embroiled in another war,” Salih said.

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