Under pressure from allies in the West, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is staking his career on reining in the Shi‘ite militias that helped him defeat Islamic State.
The task will not be easy. The paramilitaries, or Popular Mobilisation Forces, are mostly trained and backed by Iran, so Abadi risks angering his most powerful regional backer.
Iraq’s Shi‘ite majority also see the PMF’s 150,000 fighters as their saviors. Several militia commanders plan to run against Abadi in parliamentary elections in May and some have warned they will resist attempts to dismantle them.