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Iraqi government battle against Iran-backed militias enters new phase

The battle to rein in armed militias outside state control has been a long and challenging process, but the Iraqi prime minister is gathering political support for his efforts.
Protesters chant slogans as they walk past a pro-Hezbollah Brigades (militia that is part of the Hashed Shaabi or Popular Mobilisation Forces) billboard during an anti-government demonstration, also calling for freedom of the press, in the southern Iraqi city of Basra on January 17, 2020. (Photo by Hussein FALEH / AFP) (Photo by HUSSEIN FALEH/AFP via Getty Images)

A year ago on July 1,  then Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi issued a decree ordering the factions of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) to integrate fully into the state security forces.

A year later, they not only have not been integrated but are again resisting demands to assimilate with state security services, challenging the Iraqi government in multiple ways.

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