Maliki Turns to Militias to Halt Militant Onslaught
By Caroline Alexander, June 12, 2014
Even if the measure achieves its immediate goal, the use of such militia groups would sow the seeds of future crises, said Zaid Al-Ali, author of The Struggle for Iraq’s Future. “That could possibly help him in the short-run, if there were enough of them that could help pacify the city,” Al-Ali said. “But in the long-term that would make things worse. We need regular, long-term Iraqi forces to be responsible for security. That’s a no-brainer.” Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr was among the first to respond to the premier’s appeal. Al-Sadr led the Mahdi militia, which played a key role in the civil war before it was disbanded in 2008, a year after the surge of U.S. troops that ejected al-Qaeda-linked groups and reined in Shiite militants.