In Iraq’s parliament, Shi’ite militia leaders plan to call the shots

Source: Reuters

BYAhmed RasheedBabak DehghanpishehMichael Georgy

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – In May, Hassan Fada’am traded his military fatigues for a suit when he became one of 45 Shi’ite militiamen elected to Iraq’s 329-seat parliament.

Members of Shi'ite group Asaib ahl al-Haq walk outside their premises in Basra

Members of Shi’ite group Asaib ahl al-Haq walk outside their premises in Basra, Iraq November 8, 2018. The text on the flag reads: ‘Asaib ahl al-Haq Movement’. Picture taken November 8, 2018. REUTERS/Essam al-Sudani

Members of Shi’ite group Asaib ahl al-Haq walk outside their premises in Basra, Iraq November 8, 2018. The text on the flag reads: ‘Asaib ahl al-Haq Movement’. Picture taken November 8, 2018. REUTERS/Essam al-Sudani

Fada’am trained as a soldier in Iran and fought against Islamic State in Iraq. Now he’s a politician as paramilitary groups backed by Iran have doubled their number of seats in Iraq’s parliament. The Fatih Alliance bloc that represents them has become the second largest political bloc.

In interviews, eight militiamen who have translated their battlefield success into electoral victories set out how they plan to use this new platform. Six months after the vote, Iraq’s new Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has yet to win parliamentary approval for his government. Yet already one thing is evident, the militia are better placed than ever to influence policies, from domestic security to foreign policy.

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