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Iraq: Legislating the Status of the Popular Mobilization Forces

(Dec. 7, 2016) On November 26, 2016, the Iraqi Parliament institutionalized the people’s fighting forces known as Al-Hashd al-Shaabi, or the Popular Mobilization (PM), by passing a special law on the matter. (Law of the Popular Mobilization Authority (2016 Law), Iraqi Parliament website (Nov. 26, 2016) (in Arabic).)

Under the new law, the PM is an independent organization with corporate personality, is a part of the Iraqi armed forces, and reports directly to the general commander of the armed forces. (Id. art 1.1.)  The PM is subject to all military laws in effect except those related to age and education requirements.  (Id. art 1.2.1.)  Members of the PM must be disengaged from all political, partisan, and social organizations, and no political activity by those members is permitted.  (Id. art 1.2.5.)  The commander of the PM will be appointed with the approval of the Parliament.  (Id. art 2.)

The 2016 law replaces an executive order on the PM issued earlier this year by the Prime Minister, Haider al-Ibadi, in his capacity as the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. (Order No. 91 (Feb. 2, 2016), IKH NEWS (July 26, 2016) (in Arabic).)