The Atlantic

How Will Iraq Contain Iran's Proxies?

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani may be the only man who can—but he’ll need help.
Source: Nabil al-Jurani / AP

In June 2014, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, one of the leading Shiite clergyman in the world, on all able-bodied Iraqis to defend their country against the Islamic State. Iraq’s U.S.-trained armed forces had collapsed, fleeing the advance of as it seized Mosul and much of northern Iraq. Sistani’s mobilized a 100,000-strong fighting force known as the , or Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), whose mostly Shiite fighters were instrumental in the fight against . The PMF is comprised of multiple Shiite militias who were established after 2014 as volunteer groups that took up arms in response to Sistani’s , filling the void left by the collapse of the Iraqi army. The majority of these groups are aligned with the Iraqi state and

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic4 min readTech
Elon Musk’s Next Wild Promise
If someone is going to revolutionize what it means to be human, do we want it to be a tech titan?
The Atlantic5 min read
The Rise of Coffee Shaming
The Atlantic3 min readPolitics
Trump Supporters Don’t Make Chants About Men
Where the president’s fans once called for a female opponent’s imprisonment, now they are longing for another woman to be literally banished from the country.