Analysis: How Iran is transforming Iraq into a second Lebanon

The government of Iraq appears to be playing a double game with the United States and Iran over the influence of the Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi umbrella organization of predominantly Shiite militias in the country.

Almost three years after a law was passed making Hash al-Shaabi integral part of the Iraqi security forces Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi issued a decree ordering the Iranian-backed organization to integrate fully into the Iraqi military and abandon previous affiliations.

Mahdi issued an ultimatum which said the offices of Hasd al-Shaabi affiliated militias had to be closed down before July 31 while the militias also must end their practice of erasing checkpoints in areas where they want to increase their influence.

Militias failing to comply with the order will be considered illegal organizations while Mahdi gave them the option to transform into political parties after abandoning their weapons.

At first sight the move appeared to be the result

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