Iraq’s Militias Continue Their Deadly Campaign Against Dissent

Iraq’s Militias Continue Their Deadly Campaign Against Dissent
A member of the Popular Mobilization Forces near the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, May 26, 2021 (AP photo by Hadi Mizban).

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The Iraqi state has been on life support for years. But it has lurched deeper into decline over the past few weeks, as renegade militias accelerated their assassination campaign against both dissidents and government officials, appearing to shrug off a symbolic attempt by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to hold them accountable.

The militia campaign has deeply scarred Iraqi civil society and a popular protest movement that dates back to fall 2019, and it has seriously weakened Kadhimi. Alarmingly, on Monday assassins killed a senior intelligence official in Baghdad, identified by the Iraqi National Intelligence Services as Col. Nebras Farman Shabaan. Ultimately, however, the goal of the violence is to choke any prospect for reform out of Iraqi politics.

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