Inside Story

Can Shia militias be integrated into the Iraqi army?

Prime Minister Abadi says Shia forces will be subjected to military law if they are integrated into Iraq’s armed forces.

Though they’ve been accused of widespread human rights abuses, the Popular Mobilisation Units or Shia militias have become a crucial part of the Iraqi government’s strategy against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).

Now, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi wants to integrate them into the national armed forces. 

It’s a move that he says will make them subject to military law and ban them from having any political affiliations.

But can the state control them? And where do their loyalties lie?

Presenter: Sami Zeidan


Sabah Al-Mukhtar – President of the Arab Lawyers Association

Kenneth Katzman – Senior analyst at the Congressional Research Service.

Ali Al-Dabbagh – Former spokesman of the Iraqi Government