BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi sought on Monday to curb the powers of the popular mobilization forces, a politically risky move apparently aimed at placating the United States.
Two weeks after the first of several unclaimed attacks on bases in Iraq hosting U.S. forces and on a site used by a U.S. energy firm, Abdul Mahdi issued a decree ordering the PMF to integrate more closely into the formal armed forces.
Local officials blamed PMF for one of the incidents, but Iran has not commented. At a time of sharply heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had told Iraqi leaders during a surprise visit to Baghdad in May that if they failed to keep in check Iran-backed militias, the United States would respond with force.
“In the interest of the public good and as per the powers granted to us by the constitution … the following is decreed: all Popular Mobilisation Forces are to operate as an indivisible part of the armed forces and be subject to the same regulations,” the decree said.