Armed groups helped drive out occupying ISIL fighters and now have broad influence in Iraqi politics [Ako Rasheed/Reuters]

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has issued a decree curbing the powers of mostly Iranian-backed Shia militias and forcing them to integrate into Iraq’s formal armed forces – a politically risky move seemingly aimed at placating the United States.

“In the interest of the public good and as per the powers granted to us by the constitution … the following is decreed: All Popular Mobilisation Forces are to operate as an indivisible part of the armed forces and be subject to the same regulations,” the decree, issued on Monday, said.

The armed groups – known collectively as the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) – helped Iraqi and

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