Each week, we’ll dive into the top news happening around the Middle East to discuss the stories behind the headlines. With the proliferation of regional conflicts and political drama, we will break down the major developments, provide insight from some of the foremost experts, and have fun while we’re at it. Off the Hookah with Phil and Cooper is a production of Al-Monitor.
by Phil & Cooper Friday, Aug. 16, 2019
Iraq is stuck in the middle of the US-Iran tensions, as their new government tries carefully to play both sides. One point of contention is the role of independent, predominantly Shiite militias in the country, with some holding strong pro-Iranian views - these militias are known as the PMU, or Popular Mobilization Units. But there’s been an outcry after Iraq’s prime minister decreed that all these militias must come under the command of the Iraqi Armed Forces. Phil and Cooper break down the basics: why were the PMU formed? How much power do they have? And what comes next? Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse editor Ali Mamouri joins the podcast from Baghdad.