Ahead of the May 12 general election, militias of the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMUs) contesting the election as the Fatah Coalition, are using the contentious issue of US troops remaining in Iraq following the defeat of Islamic State in December 2017, to fuel intra-Shia rivalry and gather votes.
On 20 February, Hadi al-Ameri, the leader of the Badr Organisation, one of the main elements of the PMUs, challenged Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and requested information on the details of the government’s reported request for US troops to remain in the country. Abadi had stated on 5 February that the US forces, officially currently at 5,200 personnel, would gradually reduce in number, but did not specify how many would remain.
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