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PMU decree unlikely to shift power balance in Iraq's Qaim

As some Popular Mobilization Units prepare to comply with the prime minister’s recent decree incorporating them into other national security forces, the Shiite-led, non-local PMU seem to have the final say for now over who enters this Iraqi border city and who crosses into and out of Syria.

QAIM, Iraq — Abu Sajjad’s desk is flanked by the Iraqi flag, the official Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) flag and that of Kataib al-Imam Ali, the fighting group of which he is the local commander. On the wall is a large map of the two sides of the border, which he and his men cross regularly. Wearing a T-shirt with the logo of the 1980s American film "Top Gun," Abu Sajjad’s muscular tattooed arms gesture as he talks animatedly about differences between Syria and Iraq, how the United States and Israel are trying to interfere in the country, and how the prime minister’s July 1 decree that the PMU be incorporated into other state security forces is good.

"We are men of the state, and we follow the law," he told Al-Monitor.

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