Debate over role of party formed from Iraqi militias highlights impact of Iran-US fallout

In militia bases across Iraq, leaders who spent the past four years in military fatigues are wearing clean-cut suits and welcoming guests. Posters of martyrs lost in the fight against Islamic State adorn meeting room walls, but the photos of the living on the streets outside have taken on a new prominence.

Among banners of candidates’ faces lining every main road in the Iraqi capital are the main protagonists of the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), an organisation widely credited with defeating the terror group and which is determined to parlay its battlefield wins into electoral gains in Iraq’s first national election since 2014.

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