The Iran Project

Iraq’s public mobilization forces’ decisive role in anti-ISIS fight

Members of the Iraqi security forces are heading from Samarra city to Tikrit to launch an assault against the ISIL militants on February 28, 2015. ©AFP

Alwaght- The Iraqi people and government have experienced dire happenings after the terrorist group ISIS has entered Iraq and captured almost half of the country’s territory. But favorable events also took place on the opposite side, carrying the potentials to get the Iraq on the right track of peace and stability in the future.

The spread of war and violence and bloodshed across the country as a result of anti-ISIS battle, which in its place increased the fatalities of both the Iraqi civilians as well as the military staff, have pushed Iraq back to the post-Saddam Hussain conditions of 2003. According to the reports published by the UN, in 2015 alone about 11,000 Iraqis lost their lives and about 18,000 others were injured.

Nevertheless, the advances made by the Iraqi forces in a series of fronts across the country against the ISIS terrorists, including the gains made by the Public Mobilization Forces- a voluntary militant group comprised of popular Shiite fighters- have restored hopes for conclusion of the conflict and ultimate win of the central Iraqi government over the terrorists and the domestic conspirators.

Meanwhile, the neighboring Iran has played an indispensable role in the Iraqi military and political developments. Offering a full support to Baghdad’s government in more than one event, the Iranian officials have transferred their experiences in battlefields to the Iraqi commanders. That’s why a large number of the Iraqis including the Shiites in south, the Kurds in north and even many of the Sunnis of the country see themselves indebted to Tehran for its crucial aids to Baghdad. Now Iran enjoys a very positive face among the Iraqi citizens. They are appreciative of Tehran’s help in their fight with ISIS terror group and also Tehran’s efforts to restore stability, the rule of law and sovereignty to their country.

In late January 2015, with advances of the Public Mobilization Forces, the city of Miqdadiyah in Diyala province was retaken from the terrorists of ISIS. The liberation of the city meant that the whole ISIS-held areas in Diyala were out of control of the terrorist group.

In early March 2015, an operation was launched by the Iraqi army along with the Public Mobilization Forces, aiming at regaining control of Tikrit, the center of Salahaddin province, from ISIS. Due to participation of the Mobilization in the anti-ISIS assault, there sparked clashes between the Sunni and Shiite forces, because the Sunnis demanded Mobilization Forces out of Tikrit recapture operation.

Also discontented with presence of Mobilization Forces in the liberation operation, the US-led anti-ISIS coalition has failed to deploy fighter jets to back the Iraqi forces. However, finally in late March, the Iraqi forces managed to break the defenses of ISIS and retake the city from the terrorist group. Recapture of Tikrit was of significance from two dimensions: First, it was the first time since ISIS’ rise in Iraq that the Iraqi forces inflicted a big loss on the terror group ISIS, and second, the victory of Public Mobilization Forces as a major Iraqi force in counter-ISIS battle gave the voluntary group a nationwide, official recognition.

But briefly after liberation of Tikrit, ISIS’ forces started a massive offensive against Ramadi, the center of Al Anbar province, and managed to capture the city on March 2015. Only 10 days after fall of Ramadi to the terrorists, an assault was begun on March 27, aiming to reclaim Ramadi. But the action met with failure. Since then, a couple of offensives were launched to reclaim the ISIS-held city. The last assault to free Ramadi began on December 22, 2015, led by the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. Only a week after the onset of move, the Iraqi forces succeeded, on December 28, to fully liberate and cleanse Ramadi of the ISIS’ fighters.

Without doubt, the Iraqi army’s triumph in Ramadi presented a launching pad for next victories for the Iraqis in their fight with terrorism. Serious activation of command center for liberation of Mosul, ISIS’ hotbed in Iraq, and launching the recapture operation of the city are the most significant military strategies that the Iraqi government and Iran have ahead. Meanwhile, certainly the Mobilization Forces, as a key force containing Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen and led by Shiite political and religious leaders and headed by Hadi al-Amiri, the former Iraqi member of parliament and the head of strong militant group Badr Organization, would serve as an essential factor in the future of military developments of Iraq’s battle against ISIS.

For the present time, the Mobilization is the most reliable anti-terror Iraqi force, and is under full command of PM al-Abadi, with best possible unity is present in the battlefields. Certainly, the Mobilization Forces in the upcoming years, namely in post-ISIS era, would lay the foundations of Iraq’s new national army.

The Public Mobilization Forces have the backing of the region’s leading anti-terror force: Iran. The fact is the Iranian leaders due to their efficient anti-ISIS plan, have won a considerable popular base in Iraq. Tehran’s further support for the Iraqi popular forces could bring about even further frontline triumphs over the ISIS terrorist organization.

In general, despite the fact that Baghdad is grappling with a variety of crises, the political developments of Iraq could prefigured as positive for the future. Following Ramadi recapture, many of Iraq’s politicians have talked about the date to start liberation mission of Mosul, Iraq’s second-most populated city and the capital of Nineveh province. Some analysts argue that this year could be the year of end of ISIS in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi forces have set hope at Iran’s advisory and military back-up in process of Fallujah recapture fight as a major stepping stone to Mosul reclaim operation.

On the other side, the Mobilization’s presence in Fallujah battle has caused warmed-up Arab-Western media campaign against it, in a bid to provoke the Sunnis in the embattled city against the popular forces, however, the past performance of the voluntary force lays bare the fact that it, backed by the Islamic Republic, works in best interests of all of the Iraqis, including the Shiites, Sunnis and the Kurds, for the final anti-terror victory, with its determination for ultimate win over terrorism not affected by the “false” media campaigns.

By Alwaght

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