Iraq faces take-over by Iran-backed militias if ISIS is defeated, coalition commanders fear

The Telegraph reports: Coalition commanders in Iraq fear that Iran-backed Shia militias may stage an armed takeover of the country if Isil is defeated, a new report has warned.

Senior figures in the US-led mission believe there is a high likelihood of a “war after the war” because of the Iraqi government’s reliance on Shia militias in its fight against Isil.

The move has hugely boosted the strength of such militias, to the point where they are now in a position to challenge the elected government for control of the country.

The warnings are revealed in research compiled by one Britain’s foremost experts on Iraq, Professor Toby Dodge, who served as an adviser to General David Petraeus, America’s former top commander in Baghdad.

Prof Dodge’s findings are based on meetings with high-level coalition commanders and Iraqi politicians conducted during a recent study trip to Iraq for the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics.

They told him that recent defeats against Isil in Ramadi and Sinjar had shifted “the balance of power” to the Shia militias, who lead around 70 per cent of all military operations.

“Against a background of positive military news, there was near unanimity amongst the senior Iraqi political figures and the military commanders of the American-led, multilateral coalition that that the military defeat of (Isil) in Iraq would trigger another military conflict, which would in effect, mark the country’s return to civil war,” said the report. [Continue reading…]

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