How Iraq’s Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi became an instrument of Iran’s foreign policy

It has been seven years since his yellow flag first appeared in the campaign against Daesh. The Shiite-dominated conglomerate was first established in June 2014 to defend Iraq against Daesh. The extremist group conquered northern Iraq and eastern Syria as well as Mosul in 2014. Furthermore, al-Hashd al-Shaabi fighters won the admiration of many Iraqis for Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani’s decision to allow weapons.

Over time, this organization assumes more sinister reasons to harm humanity. In May 2021, Hashd fighters forcibly took to the main stage in Baghdad’s Green Zone with their might. It is the most politically active region in Iraq. Then they forced the country’s elected leaders to release Kassim Muscle. Kassim is a Hashdi commander previously captured in Anbar Province.

With a reputation as a brutal oppressor and ruler, Muscle traveled with thousands of Iraqis to central Baghdad in 2019 to protest against systemic corruption and Iran’s influence in their country’s affairs. As a result, snipers from Hashd’s units killed dozens of people after days of relentless protests. Musleh and his Iranian sponsors are believed to have contributed to the assassination. His latest arrest relates to the May 9 murder of Ihab Al-Wazni, a prominent activist at the southern holy site of Karbala.

The Middle East and North Africa Analyst Emily Hawthorne, on the current state of terrorism, said that many Iraqi activists reject the ability of Iran-backed militias to operate outside the law, and it makes sense that the militias then try to target anyone to silence those working to limit positions. their power.

On the other hand, researcher Kyle Orton believes that Iran-controlled militias in Iraq are behind the worst atrocities against anti-corruption protesters. He argues that the Hashd is clearly stronger than the Iraqi security forces, both in its ability to control social space and roads and the political sphere, with its control of key ministries and its effective veto power in parliament.


Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Brett Kinnunen

“If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”