Protectors of the State? The Popular Mobilisation Forces During the Post-Election Crisis

حماة الدولة؟
قوات الحشد الشعبي خلال أزمة
2022 ما بعد انتخابات عام

English and Arabic versions | تحميل عربي

Author: Simona Foltyn

The Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) is a grouping of Shiʿa-led paramilitaries in Iraq, formed in 2014 with Iranian support to fight the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The PMF officially reports to Iraq’s prime minister and has undergone a gradual process of institutionalisation which has been subject to much debate and criticism. Although officially a state force, the PMF is frequently criticised for acting outside the chain of command to protect its ideological and political interests.

This paper examines the PMF’s role during the 2022 post-election crisis, with an aim to shed light on its level of institutionalisation six years after its foundation. The paper focuses on armed clashes that took place inside Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone on 29–30 August 2022 between the PMF and rival forces led by Shiʿa cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.