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This battle pits Abadi and aligned nationalist Shiite factions against a series of Iran-backed militias and their political wings, whose power expanded dramatically following the June 2014 collapse of the Iraqi army in the north.This required the militias to pull back – not only because the United States demanded this, but because the militias could not allow themselves to cooperate with U.S. forces. Then Abadi ordered government forces forward, led by "Golden Division" special forces personnel. The most powerful was the Badr Brigade, the armed wing of what is now called the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI).The key militia that challenged the Badr Brigade was the Mahdi Army, the armed wing of the Sadrist movement.It was shortly after this that Maliki created the umbrella organization for the militias, commonly referred to as Hashd, from Al-Hashd al-Shaabi for "popular mobilization".The Sadrists have taken a nationalist line, saying that the Hashd organization should be abolished as soon as possible and volunteers enlisted in units under the prime minister's direct authority.
Political wrangling over Iraq’s election laws
Mosul and the limits of state capacity
Examining Mosul offensive’s regional and domestic political context
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