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Iraq: Understanding Hashd Al-Shaabi

The Hashd Al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation Units) have played a crucial role in Baghdad’s successful fight against Islamic State (IS or Daesh) and also in muting the impact of the Kurdish independence referendum by pushing into areas around Kirkuk and other disputed territories. While doing so they have retained popularity in most parts of the country, even in Sunni-dominated areas in the west; the one exception to this is in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) where they were deeply distrusted even before the referendum vote.

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