What is more complicated and problematic than Hezzbollah controlling the most crucial aspects of a state? Imagine a thousand Hezzbollahs, or just observe Iraq's militias, state and non-state. This what our latest long report from @NewlinesInst addresses.
Iraq’s PMF was created in 2014 under the pretext of fighting ISIS with Najaf’s blessing and Iran’s orchestrating. The red flags were there but overlooked as Iraq and the international community prioritized fighting the existential threat of ISIS.
Often dismissed as sectarian rhetoric or US-policy panicking, the concerns around the PMF had nothing to do with sect, but rather what creating a military entity that parallels the state's security apparatus would entail for Iraq, especially one arranged by the IRGC.
Now in the 7th year of its existence, PMF offers a cover to not only grave violations to human rights, but also to an an entire deep state racket economy that thrives on illicit activities ranging from extortion to bribery.
Our report looks at illicit activities in Ninewa province particularly, and other provinces in general. The activities show a pattern among regiments that fall under the PMF’s umbrella: law in Iraq is beneath militias. They defy the law, the constitution, and the PM.
Ninewah’s case is significant for multiple reasons. 1- Demographic change in historically Assyrian and Chaldean villages is ongoing with little to no coverage. The militias have been praised for their defense of minorities, but this report exposes the fallacy of that discourse
2- Influence among Ninewa’s (now terminated) provincial council, whether deliberate or coerced, allowed for social re-engineering in Ninewa to take place gradually. The only armed group that managed to displaced indigenous populations before the militias was ISIS.
Speaking of which, another aspect of the militias’ activity is the borrowing from the ISIS textbook: creating an economy based on smuggling, racket money, extortion tax, and threats. They do, however, have an edge on ISIS: collecting state salaries, perks, and recognition.
The parallel deep state racket economy has allowed these militias to grow and become financially independent from their founding fathers, the IRGC.
Continued state funding of the PMF while failing to create new job opportunities in the private sector will by default make the PMF the only potential source of income for millions of youth
While Ninewa is subjected to economic and agricultural monopolization by the militias, other areas in Iraq serve as mobile bank for them ,collections millions of dollars monthly from civilians through checkpoints:
There are various discussions today about the future of the PMF. Any approach that does not acknowledge how their economic strength was created and why public discontent is silenced is bound to fail. A parallel state does not desire to integrate. It wants to take over.

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More from @RashaAlAqeedi

2 May
May 2nd
King Faysal II of Iraq would have been 86 years old today. The communist leaning coup ended his life on July 14th, 1958.
Wheb the young King ascended the throne, Iraq was already problematic in particular towards Assyrians and minority groups who had suffered under the Ottomans. I do believe that Iraq's conplexities could have been solved incrementally and much easier if July 14th never happened.
I know the video above is triggering for the anti-Imperialists who enjoy pretending moral superiority, and believe expansionism can only be British or American. Genuinely could not care less about tankies, but I'm not endorsing the British mandate. It was a page in Iraq's history
Read 6 tweets
21 Feb
Iraq:The current military operation in Tarmiya north of Baghdad involves some of the Iran-aligned militias who participated in Jurf al Sakhr and the goal seems to the be same: empty the towns of its Sunni population and turn them into massive military bases for militias
Jurf al Sakhr is never mentioned in news articles and military reports. The population of an entire town,around 80,000, was displaced under the pretext of fighting ISIS. Tarmiyah appears to be facing the same fate.
If this succeeds again, what will stop the Iran-aligned militias from repeating this in all of the towns of southern Salahudin province and completely surrounding Baghdad?
Read 9 tweets
19 Feb
Happy to share the analysis which I co-authored with my colleague ⁦⁦@CarolineRose8⁩ on the complicated situation in Iraq following the militia attacks in Erbil. ⁦@NewlinesInst
Iraq including KRG urgently demands its own policy. newlinesinstitute.org/iran/iran-usin…
A militia attack on a US base inside KRG is more significant than one in Baghdad. America was hesitant to interfere as ISIS swept through Ninewa, but when they attempted to attack Erbil, US sent the airforce. This was test that the IRGC knew of, or approved as we point out.
Another significance was including Turkey to the list of familiar targets like the US,Israel, and Saudi Arabia. The inclusion of Turkey adds an entirely new dimension. We discuss in the article, and @shellykittleson articulates the issue in this piece newlinesmag.com/reportage/bomb…
Read 10 tweets
19 Feb
تصلني تغريدات معاتبة من بعض المتابعين لأنني أكتب باللغة الإنكليزية أكثر من العربية أو اللهجة المحلية. أود أن أوضح السبب مرة واحدة فقط: عملي. أنا باحثة وناشرة مختصة بالشأن العراقي والجماعات المسلحة منذ حوالي ٧ سنوات، وما أنشره موجه لصناع القرار المختصين بالشأن الأمني في الغرب.
ما بين ٢٠١٨-اواخر ٢٠٢٠، كنت مديرة تحرير "ارفع صوتك"، وكان عملا مؤقتا ساعدني في تعميق معرفتي بالمجتمعات العراقية التي لم تتح لي فرصة الاندماج معها وأنا في العراق (تركت الموصل أوآخر ٢٠١٣) وهذا دفعني للكتابة بالعربية واللهجة المحلية.
اليوم عدت إلى عملي الأساسي كباحثة واستخدامي لتويتر هو لأجل ترويج ما أنشره عن الشأن الأمني والسياسي، وهو موجه كما ذكرت للنخب الغربية والأمريكية تحديدا، وهذا سبب إقامتي في واشنطن العاصمة.
Read 4 tweets
21 Jan
Waking up to the horrific heartbreaking scenes of the double suicide bombings in Baghdad. The victims again are the weakest and most vulnerable.
Mostly street vendors who sell tea who earn $4 a day and people passing by. Waiting for any official announcement by any group as to who is responsible and why.
28 killed till this minute and more injured.
Read 11 tweets

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