The Making of Iraqi Hashd

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Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi or Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) hold conferences and ceremonies to honor their martyrs as well as military parades to mark the eighth anniversary of the founding of the military force.

The largest military parade so far this year took place in Diyala province with the presence of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khadhimi and PMU Chairman Falih al-Fayadh along with other senior security officials.

During the parade, a number of impressive and advanced locally made military equipment was on display. They included a new drone system.

The idea of ​​a new anti-terrorist organization first circulated within the former government of Nouri al-Maliki. The former prime minister has stressed in several interviews that he fears Daesh terrorists entering Iraq from neighboring Syria, killing border guards and massing in the desert of the western province of Anbar, will soon spread their territorial gain in the country.

The second problem that worried the former government was that the Iraqi army trained by the United States would not be able to deal with the territorial expansion of the terrorist group.

The third area of ​​concern was that Washington was refusing to deliver weapons, especially missiles that Baghdad had paid for and desperately needed to eliminate the terrorists before they advanced.

However, the Obama White House, encouraged by Congress, imposed conditions on the delivery of the weapons. One of those conditions was that Maliki resign. Washington did not like the former prime minister who refused to extend a deal that would have allowed US troops to remain on Iraqi soil beyond 2011.

Many experts say that Washington’s delay in handing over the arms and establishing conditions and pressure on the former prime minister was a deliberate plan by the Pentagon to use the presence of Daesh as a pretext to send its troops back to the Arab country, which American troops eventually did and remain in Iraq to this day despite deep resentment of their presence.

As Maliki was forced to cede power in 2014, Daesh took control of many regions of Iraq, including entire cities and provinces where the US-trained Iraqi army collapsed.

But the idea of ​​forming an anti-terror force received a huge boost in the form of a fatwa (Islamic rule) from Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the country’s highest religious authority.

The representative of Ayatollah al-Sistani read the fatwa of the holy city of Karbala, which called on Iraqi men – able to bear arms – to volunteer in the fight against Daesh.

The Fatwa for Jihad in Islam can only
be used when a nation and people are under attack. There are strict laws on the rules of Jihad for example it is forbidden to cut down a tree unlike Daesh terrorists who behead their prisoners of war.

Over the next few days and weeks, approximately three million people signed up to volunteer. Another important man entered the scene by the name of Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis.

The experienced and veteran Iraqi commander fought the regime of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and played a crucial role in building the approximately 40 units of what would soon become Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi or popular mobilization.

Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis had the charisma, leadership qualities and
was credited with making PMU a reflection of Iraqi society.

With the help of other high-ranking Iraqi military officials, al-Muhandis ensured that the new force would include a Christian brigade and Sunni brigades and would coordinate the battle against Daesh side by side with Kurdish peshmerga forces.

The PMU now had the men it needed and the system was in place, but one thing was missing; training and weapons. This is where Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, who led the Al-Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and a team of Iranian military advisers came into the picture.

They helped arm the new volunteers and they helped train them. Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis said that “history cannot be written if this page is torn out: during Iraq’s dark hour, when Daesh advanced to the outskirts of Baghdad, on the third day [of the PMU’s battle with Daesh], we didn’t have a single ball left. Then came a blessed, courageous and quick presence, in the first hours of this crisis, of the dear brother and commander, Qassem Soleimani and his brothers. »

Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis adds that they observed the front lines and “opened their arms depots and provided us with [military assistance] immediately, military aid came in cars and then in planes. This generosity and courage came at just the right time.

“Here the Islamic Republic of Iran has advanced and with this help we were able to emerge victorious against Daesh,” he added.

What my Western commentators forget is that the ideology of Takfiri Daesh has influenced many deadly terrorist attacks in Western countries. Although the vast majority of victims of terrorist groups are Muslims, many people in Western European countries have also suffered.

The courageous efforts of commanders like Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis and Qassem Soleimani helped end the Daesh regime, which ended further terrorist attacks in the West.

The Secretary General of the Lebanese Resistance Movement, Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said: “all [Qassem Soleimani’s] life centered on Iraq and the defeat of Daesh there.

While Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of the PMU helped put an end to Daesh in Iraq; Lieutenant General Soleimani also played a major role in the defeat of Daesh in Syria. Many videos have emerged that show his bravery at the frontline of battles against the terror group in both countries.

The question to be answered is why the United States, under the direct order of former President Donald Trump, assassinated the two war heroes with drone strikes in an act of terrorism sponsored by the US state near Baghdad International Airport on Jan 3, 2020. 1:20 a.m.?

Nevertheless, the assassination did not bring Daesh back, the PMU in Iraq grew stronger in tribute to the two assassinated counter-terrorism icons. The force now has an air brigade and more recently a naval brigade in addition to its ground forces.

The Iraqi parliament has approved a bill that places the PMU in the same category as all other Iraqi armed forces. This means that the force reports to the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces, the Prime Minister of the country. They get their salary and pension from Baghdad and what is interesting is that there are more Sunni and Christian members in the PMU than in the regular Iraqi army.

Yet the United States still refers to the counter-terrorism force as Shia militias, and American forces, which no longer have a mandate to stay in Iraq, after parliament passed a bill for their expulsion following the assassination of Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis and Qassem Soleimani, even bombarded members of the PMU on several occasions.

The PMU is widely known for coming to the aid of Iraq during its dark times and with the blood of many martyrs, it has helped save the country, the region and the world from Daesh terrorism.

The force is also remembered for liberating towns from Daesh such as Tikrit in the north and leaving the town’s homes and streets intact with minimal civilian casualties. The PMU engaged in street battles.

This is quite the opposite of US forces, whose warplanes have bombed cities, damaged infrastructure, killed civilians and caused hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people. Drone footage showing the aftermath of Mosul after US warplanes bombed the city looks like the apocalypse.

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