Iraq after ISIL: An Analysis of Local, Hybrid, and Sub-State Security Forces
Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi)
abstract
Regional or community forces, militias, and other forms of local security actors have long existed in Iraq. However, when the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) took over large swaths of territory in 2014, Iraqi government control splintered and the number of local, hybrid, or sub-state security forces (LHSFs, as we refer to them) proliferated. Critical among these were the long-standing, 200,000-strong Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) forces, and the roughly 160,000 member (and growing) Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). The PMF (also known as al-hashd ash-sha’abi, or simply hashd) is an umbrella group of different militia or sub-state forces that was granted formal status by Parliament in November, 2016. A plethora of smaller forces drawn from local communities taken by ISIL also emerged, including Sunni tribal forces, and Turkmen, Yezidi, Christian and other minority defense forces. In the first half of 2017, GPPi, together with IRIS at the American University in Sulaimaini, conducted research examining the role LHSFs were playing in local communities and the impact for local and national dynamics.1 This webpage acts as the main landing page for sharing the data and analysis from that field research, and will be updated as new material becomes available.