Saturday, November 26, 2016

الحشد الشعبي al-Hashd al-Shaabi

What western news doesn't include.
Iraq: Hashd Al-Shaabi takes control of all roads
leading to Mosul.  11/2016

Who is fighting the war against ISIS?  The People's Mobilization Forces (PMF) (الحشد الشعبي al-Hashd al-Shaabi) is a paramilitary organization in Iraq comprised of 42 militias.  They are united in opposition to ISIS.  The total numbers are uncertain, but the individual militia groups are hundreds to thousands each for a total of perhaps several hundred thousand.

They've fought ISIS by participating under Iraqi military leadership in major campaigns and with good success.  The second battle of Tikrit was a major victory as was the retaking of Fallujah.  In recent months, they captured a number of towns and villages from ISIS in the Mosul Offensive.

Iraqi PMF militia advance toward
Fallujah, 5/2016
Members of the militias are volunteers.  They deploy by the thousands to protect a vulnerable public.  Most members are Shia Muslim, but there are Sunni, Kurdish, and Christian groups as well.  Militia from Iran have joined the coalition.  Together, they've committed to defending their families and towns from the ISIS caliphate, and many have paid the price with their lives.

ISIS has committed war crimes and atrocities against Muslims, Christians, Jews, Americans, Europeans, Iraqis, Syrians, Iranians, .... civilians mostly, including women and children.

800 Christians join Shiite militia
 against ISIL. 7/2015
The political issues are complex, and establishing trust among the participants is a challenge.  The country continues in turmoil, and the conflict extends into Syria and beyond. These militia are men who have left their homes and families to fight those who would destroy their world.

You'll note the absence of any mention of their heroic efforts in western media.  Similarly, the majority opposition among Muslims against ISIS is unremarked.

Twenty million Muslims take part in the Pilgrimage of Arbaeen this month despite attacks by ISIS.  Among the attendees just a few days ago, Umm Ali came without her husband who is with the security forces on the front lines.
Muslim pilgrims gather in the
 holy city of Karbala (AFP)
“I came with my son and two daughters. I came from Samawa to Najaf by car, then from Najaf to Karbala on foot, to make a plea for my husband's safety.
We ask God to support us against Daesh [ISIS] members, to help us liberate Mosul, and urge our politicians to remember the people who have sacrificed so much."
Real people, real world, real life and death.  It matters.

ISIL, ISIS, Daesh, and Islamic State refer to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Islamic State (IS), and by its Arabic language acronym Daesh.  It is a Salafi jihadist unrecognised state and militant group that follows a fundamentalist, doctrine of Sunni Islam.