The relationship between Iran and Iraq has been complicated for centuries. After the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iran saw an opportunity to increase its influence in Iraq and began backing various Shia militias to achieve its goals. These militias have become an integral part of the political and military landscape in Iraq, playing a crucial role in shaping the country’s future.
The history of Iranian-backed militias in Iraq can be traced back to the 1980s, during the Iran-Iraq War. At that time, Iran supported various Shia militias in Iraq, including the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and the Badr Organization. These groups fought against Saddam Hussein’s regime and played a significant role in undermining his power.
After the fall of Saddam Hussein, Iran continued to back Shia militias in Iraq, including the Mahdi Army led by the firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. These militias helped to fill the security vacuum in Iraq and became a powerful political force in their own right. They also played a key role in the fight against ISIS, which had seized large parts of Iraq in 2014.
However, the rise of Iranian-backed militias in Iraq has not been without controversy. These groups have been accused of committing human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, torture, and kidnapping. They have also been accused of undermining the authority of the Iraqi government and threatening the country’s stability.
One of the most notorious Iranian-backed militias in Iraq is the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), also known as the Hashd al-Shaabi. This umbrella organization was established in 2014 to coordinate the efforts of various Shia militias in the fight against ISIS. The PMF has been accused of committing human rights abuses and undermining the authority of the Iraqi government. However, it has also been praised for its role in defeating ISIS and protecting Iraq from further attacks.
The relationship between Iran and its proxies in Iraq remains complex and multifaceted. While Iran continues to provide support to Shia militias in Iraq, the Iraqi government has sought to rein in their power and assert its authority. Nevertheless, the influence of Iranian-backed militias in Iraq is likely to remain a significant factor in the country’s political and military landscape for the foreseeable future.
In conclusion, Iranian-backed militias have a long and complicated history in Iraq, dating back to the Iran-Iraq War. While they have played a crucial role in shaping Iraq’s political and military landscape, their actions have not always been welcomed by the Iraqi government or the international community. As Iraq continues to rebuild after years of conflict and instability, the role of Iranian-backed militias will remain a topic of intense debate and scrutiny.