Iraq Deploying Militias in Anbar

Iraq is readying the deployment of Shiite paramilitaries supported by Iran to different tribal areas to the west of the capital of Baghdad, a move that supporters are saying is needed to beat the Daesh militants. However, opponents warn it could inflame the sectarian violence.

Shiite militias have played a central and possibly controversial role next to the army units recently in the government’s first big successful campaign fighting the Daesh, in helping to take back Tikrit the home town of former leader Saddam Hussein.

Thus far, however, the Iraqi government has tried to avoid the deploying of militias in Anbar province to the west of Iraq’s capital, which is a vast tribal homeland of Sunni. Baghdad says its next target is Anbar in its ongoing campaign to take back territory from militants.

However, with the advance of the army faltering, officials have spoken opening of dispatching militia organized under the Hashid Shaabi Popular Mobilization umbrella.

However, the U.S. could become alarmed by this move. The U.S. is supporting the government of Iraq with airstrikes against the fighters from Daesh, but is wary of the alliance Baghdad has within the militiamen that are Shiite, who openly are given arms, funds and direction strategically from Iran.

Some tribal figures in Anbar fighting for the government against the Daesh issued calls recently for militia to be sent to aid them.

We need to recognize that it could be too difficult for security forces and tribal fighters in Anbar to defeat the Daesh, said one commander of a tribesmen group fighting the militants.

Opponents have said that this would be dangerous by provoking tribesman to support the Daesh, which presents itself to be a defender against the Shiite militiamen who are responsible for widespread atrocities.

After pushing out the insurgents this month in Tikrit, the government of Iraq declared it would take the militants on across Anbar next, prior to turning to Mosul in the north.

However, the newest campaign had hardly begun when insurgents to the offensive in Anbar and exposes the continuing dysfunction of the army that collapsed during last summer.

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