Fighters from the PMF advance toward the town of Tal Afar, west of Mosul, in August. AFP / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE
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Several militia commanders plan to run against Abadi in parliamentary elections in May and some have warned they will resist attempts to dismantle them.Abadi's plan envisages taking back the militias' heavy weapons and cutting their strength by half, according to military and intelligence sources. With Daesh crushed in Iraq, Abadi will find it harder to avoid clamping down on the militia, according to a lawmaker from his Dawa Party.In any case Abadi does not trust the Iranians, whose militia allies act like a state within a state, said a Shiite lawmaker close to the prime minister.IRANIAN INFLUENCEDisarming the militias is one of Abadi's most delicate challenges.Iraqi Shiite militia commanders are openly loyal to Tehran, Iranian advisers are seen on Iraqi battlefields, and Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned Abadi in June against weakening the militias.Several lawmakers close to Abadi and sources close to Sadr said the prime minister had secured the leader's support to stop the PMF interfering in the election.STRONG CHALLENGERSources close to Sadr said he also promised to persuade Sistani to support Abadi's plans to restrain the militias.
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