Reports & AnalyticsThe popular crowd2022WeaknessesDecline of influence 2022-02-05 21:39A-AA+
Shafaq News/ The US “Brookings” website concluded on Saturday that the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq are facing a “regressive path” during 2022, noting that the emergence of new weaknesses may allow its opponents to restrict it and undermine its influence.
At the outset, the American website considered, in a report translated by Shafaq News Agency, that the popular crowd was untouchable and enjoyed unparalleled strength and broad local legitimacy, and now, although it still enjoys strength and continues to stand firm, it is suffering this year from a downward path and faces Growing challenges to its legitimacy and influence.
The report explained that these challenges stem from the widespread popular resentment towards the repression practiced by the Popular Mobilization, in addition to its internal weakness and divisions, and the exacerbated competition with the leader of the Sadrist movement Muqtada al-Sadr, adding that these “weaknesses” may allow opponents and technocrats within the state, and the Sadrists to work to undermine the strength of the Sadrist movement. crowd.
Popular crowd divisions
And after the report referred to the fatwa of the Shiite authority and the beginning of the emergence of the Popular Mobilization and the Sadrist “Peace Brigades” and the overlapping of their economic and political interests in the state and abroad and in various regions, it pointed out that unlike many militias around the world, the Popular Mobilization Forces were able to obtain An official position for itself within the Iraqi security forces as an auxiliary force recognized by the state and supported by an annual budget of more than two billion dollars.
He added, “The Popular Mobilization Forces did not view the state as an entity that could be overthrown, but rather as an important structure for its survival and rise.”
The report then dealt with the attacks of the Popular Mobilization on activists who demonstrated against corruption, calling for reform of the system of government, services and jobs, noting also that the assassination of the United States of the powerful and charismatic leader of the Popular Mobilization Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and its Iranian supporter, General Qassem Soleimani, exacerbated the internal divisions in the Popular Mobilization And the crowd suffering from a leadership crisis.
In the light of this chaos, he added, militias affiliated with Hashd al-Ataba withdrew from the Popular Mobilization, a division that greatly undermined the religious legitimacy of the Popular Mobilization, which led to strengthening weaknesses in the leadership’s reputation of the pro-Iranian factions, adding them to “street thugs and Iranian agents.”
The crowd and the October elections
The report also dealt with the October 2021 elections, in which the performance of the Popular Mobilization was weak, and “the escalation that the Popular Mobilization resorted to later in the attempt to assassinate Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kazemi,” which sought, with the encouragement of the United States, to limit the influence of the Popular Mobilization and confront the attacks launched by the pro-Iranian factions on the country. Americans in Iraq.
He added that the withdrawal of the Atabat Mobilization greatly reduces the number of members of the Popular Mobilization Forces, which raises the possibility of reducing the Hashd’s demand for a large budget from the state, noting that the Atabat Mobilization represents, along with the Sadrists, another opponent that can compete for regional resources and influence.
The report stated that al-Sadr called for the dissolution of the Popular Mobilization and said that he would disband his Saraya al-Salam militias and close several offices.
In addition to all this, Washington’s announcement of the end of the combat mission of its forces in Iraq by the end of 2021, is also a deal negotiated between the Joe Biden administration and the Iraqi government, aimed at “undermining the efforts to legitimize the popular mobilization through propaganda against the United States and the occupation.”
The crowd is at stake
In view of all this, the report concluded by saying that there is “a lot at stake for the Popular Mobilization Forces,” explaining that their ability to extract resources from the state is linked to its political superiority, and this in turn is linked to Iran’s ability to influence the political environment of Iraq.
He added, “The ability of the Popular Mobilization Forces to justify their government support is declining, due to their poor electoral performance, the deterioration of their popular legitimacy, and the terrorist activity of ISIS at a relatively low level.”
However, the report noted that the PMF remains resilient, has “muscle in the street”, is willing to attack its opponents and is able to control or influence a range of economic sectors, in addition to promoting the practice of extortion against the local population.
In addition, the PMF is able to “take advantage of the fractured political environment and take advantage of the many political divisions”, in addition to its ability to confirm its alliance with former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who won 33 seats.
The report ruled out that the divided Iraqi political class would move towards unity in order to work on marginalizing the Hashd, given that many in this political class maintain deep ties with the Mobilization Forces.
Nevertheless, the report concluded by saying that “it may be the first time in years that technocrats, moderate politicians, and civil society actors have been able to exploit the chaos within the PMF, Sadr’s determination against the PMF, and widespread hatred toward the PMF, to loosen the PMF’s control over the Hashd al-Shaabi. State and Society in Iraq.