The Christian Science Monitor

Iraq’s Shiite militias try to convert military victory into political power

Campaign posters for Iraqi parliament candidate Ahmed al-Asadi, the former spokesman for the Popular Mobilization Forces, Iraq's Shiite militias, hang near a traffic circle in Baghdad April 17. Mr. Asadi is one of 500 former PMF members trying to convert their battlefield success against ISIS into political influence. Source: Scott Peterson/Getty Images/The Christian Science Monitor

At the entrance to one of Baghdad’s biggest amusement parks is an election banner for Hadi al-Amiri, senior commander of the mainly Shiite militias that helped vanquish Islamic State jihadists and now aim to win Iraqis’ votes.

A guard at the gate shrugs at the banner’s having been given such prominent placement, where hundreds of thousands of voters will see it before parliamentary elections on May 12.

“They own the place,” laughs the guard, tongue-in-cheek, about Iraq’s ubiquitous militias, when asked about the banner at a park run by the Baghdad municipality. “They own everything, so they are free to put it here.”

Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), known in Arabic as , don’t “own” everything in Iraq. But since being formed from volunteers in mid-2014 to help repel the ISIS invasion, the militias – originally called to arms by a from Iraq’s most powerful Shiite cleric, and beneficiaries of support and advisers from Iran – have seen their numbers

Lots of 'street cred''Who liberated the country?'Fine line on IranManifestation of 'things that are wrong'

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Christian Science Monitor

The Christian Science Monitor3 min readSociety
Three Questions: Antonio Brown, The Latest NFL Morality Test
Amid sexual assault allegations, Antonio Brown is the latest moral test of the NFL’s commitment to address violence against women by its players.
The Christian Science Monitor4 min read
Slave Trade Revisited: For Ghanaian Archaeology Team, Past Is Personal
Archaeologist Rachel Ama Asaa Engmann leads a team excavating Christiansborg Castle, a slave fort in Ghana where many of the team’s ancestors worked.
The Christian Science Monitor4 min read
For The Birds: Can Humans Turn Empathy Into Solutions?
U.S. and Canadian bird populations have declined by 3 billion since 1970, according to a new study in Science.