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Popular Mobilization Forces (Iraq)

Hashd al Shaabi

Last modified: 2020-10-17 by ian macdonald
Keywords: iraq | popular mobilization force | al-hashd |
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Background

The Mahdi Army, or JAM (Jaysh al-Mahdi) has evolved into the Promised Day Brigades and then into the Peace Companies (Saraya al-Salam), frequently mistakenly still called "Peace Brigades" in United States media. They are an Iraqi armed group linked to Iraq's Shia community. The Peace Brigades were created by the Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in June 2003 and disbanded in 2008 only to be revived since 2014 in the much more broad sense of a Popular Mobilization Forces (al-Hashd al-Shaabi). The Peace Companies emerged again in 2014 replacing the Promised Day Brigades into a much more elaborate network of cooperation under the People's Mobilization (Forces).
The People's Mobilization (Forces) (al-Hashd al-Shaabi), also known as the National Mobilization (al-Hashd al-Watani), and as the Popular Mobilization Forces/Units/Committee (PMF/PMU/PMC), is an Iraqi state-sponsored umbrella organization composed of some 40, mainly Shiite, militias (there also Sunni, Christian, and Yazidi groups). The People's Mobilization was formed for deployment against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The organization was formed by uniting existing militias under the "People's Mobilization Committee" of the Iraqi Ministry of Interior in June of 2014. Despite being a force outside the Iraqi regular armed services, militants of the Popular Mobilization Forces openly reject the qualification of "militia".
This framework of cooperation is coordinated by the Iraqi State and acts (loosely) as a confederation of forces, of which the three main driving forces are: "The League of the Righteous" (As-saib Ahl al Haq), "Hezbollah Brigades" (Kata'ib Hezbollah) and the "Promised Day Brigades" which evolved into the "Peace Companies" (Sources: Popular Mobilization Forces (Iraq) and Peace Companies and Special Groups (Iraq), and other lesser groups, such as the Badr Organization and the Battalion of the Sayyid's Martyrs (Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada - KSS) in Iraq.)
Now, back to Mahdi Army: we feature the above image, sent to the list by William Garrison. He mentions the original source to be Getty images. Here are a few more of those pictures (all of them were taken in Baghdad Shiite district of Sadr City, July 21, 2006):
      - Image #1 (flag in the middle) and (source)
      - Image #2 (flag in the middle) and (source)
      - Image #3 (flag in the middle) and (source)
      - Image #4 and (source)
      - Image #5 and (source).
The flag is a horizontal green flag, with the map of Iraq in the middle in white outline, with fourteen white rays coming out of the center of the Iraq map outwards, with an Iraqi flag in the right corner, and below the Iraq map, two crossed white swords (most likely a type of scimitar) with the black grip.
Esteban Rivera, 27 March 2016

#49a   #49b
Images from Randy Young, 1 April 2016

I attempted to create of the first two Popular Mobilization Forces flags that Esteban listed in his E-mail - the current logo on the white field (#49a) and the previous yellow flag with the red logo (#49b). Unfortunately, I was not able to gif the red flag with the inscription that he also linked in his E-mail. I'll keep trying, though, and hopefully be able to come up with a reasonable facsimile in the future. Please let me know if there are any changes or corrections that need to be made to the attached graphics.
Randy Young, 1 April 2016


al-Hashd al-Shaabi

image from William Garrison, 20 August 2019

Flag, Iraq, al-Hashd al-Shaabi outside city of Albu Ajil, east of Tikrit/Takrit, Iraq.
A Shia-Muslim, Popular Mobilization Force (PMF), c. August 2019
source: http://www.arabnews.com/node/1541696
William Garrison, 20 August 2019

image from William Garrison, 5 January 2020

Two side-by-side versions of the Iraq-based "Hashd al-Shaabi" flag: the regular white one, and a red one -- which most likely symbolizes the blood shed by martyred soldiers of this Shiite-Muslim "Popular Mobilization Force" (PMF); c. Jan. 2020. It may be a sub-unit of "Hashd al-Shaabi".
Source: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/pictures-thousands-march-baghdad-mourn-soleimani-200104094026338.html
William Garrison, 5 January 2020


Shia/Shiite militia

image from William Garrison, 22 August 2019

Shia/Shiite militia Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), misc.
source: https://jihadintel.meforum.org/identifiers/21/flags
William Garrison, 22 August 2019

The first flag (white, green map with a red ribbon below) is from Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq (Asa'ib Ahlulhaq عصائب الحق), "League of People of Righteousness" also known as the Khazali Network and previously known as Ahl al-Kahf. This is an Iranian proxy militia originated in 2004 as a split from Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. The group leader is Qais al-Khazali.

The other flag is from the military wing of the Badr Organization.
Jaume Olle, 31 August 2019

Those flags are of The League of the Righteous and Badr Organization.
Esteban Rivera, 31 August 2019

image from William Garrison, 9 November 2019

Flag, Iraq, Shiite/Shia Muslim militia, c. 2016

"Soldiers of the Hashd Al Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units) wave the victory sign onboard a pickup truck, on their way to Tal Afar [Iraq] airport on November 20, 2016. (AFP Photo)"

Popular Mobilization Forces (Iraq) With regard to the official native name, the Arabic word الشعبي (al-shaabi) translates as “people's” or “popular”, as referred to the people; the Arabic word الحشد (al-hashd) translates as “mobilization”, as in the group of people mobilized or the process of mobilization.

Source: https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/iraq-s-ascendant-shia-militias-take-the-fight-to-tal-afar/story-c2KDBmb5TUR8HESSNdgD0N.html

William Garrison, 9 November 2019


Tribal Mobilization

image located by Esteban Rivera, 7 September 2020
This cropped image featuring the flag with the logo as described above was originally located here. (source #6)

This flag is of the Liwa al-Muntaẓar (English: The Expected One's Brigade), also transliterated as Liwa al-Montadhar - لواء المنظر. The Expected One's Brigade' name is for the 12th Shi'a Imam: Imam Mahdi. As Saraya al-Jihad, Liw al-Muntazar is affiliated with Harakat al-Jihad wa al-Bina'. It is operational south of Bagdad and in Babil and Anbar provinces.
Jaume Ollé, 5 September 2020

This flag belongs to an umbrella organization of armed military units labeled as الحشد العشائري (Tribal mobilization), the armed component of the Popular Mobilization Forces. (source #1) and (source #2).
This group is part of the Popular Mobilization Forces is identified as the 7th Brigade: "Originally part of the Iranian-aligned Jihad and Development Movement, or حركة حزب الله في العراق (Hezbollah Movement) in Iraq (official website) of [a] "Shi'a Islamist, Iraqi political party". The latter is not affiliated with Lebanon's Hezbollah that was a part of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) umbrella. Liwa al-Muntadhar has formally split off from the Jihad and Development Movement. Liwa al-Muntadhar has been closely intertwined with سرايا الجهاد (Jihad Companies). (source #3 and (source #4)
Esteban Rivera, 7 September 2020

image located by Esteban Rivera, 7 September 2020

Regarding the area of operation, the source for Jaumé's comment is this logo featured in the middle of the flag (image) (source #5). The logo is a circular yellow background with the Imam al-Mahdi (without a face), on horseback, waving a green banner with an inscription in Arabic with his left hand and yielding [a] Zulfiqar. The image of the Imam is seen over a globe, featuring an additional inscription on top and an additional inscription on the bottom, featuring two green Dragunov sniper rifle silhouettes, having below a legend/motto in yellow over a black background and featuring two tree branches coming out of the banner featuring the legend/motto. This would be called the first logo version, featuring an abbreviated inscription below the Imam.
Esteban Rivera, 7 September 2020   


Liwa (Battalion) Ali al-Akbar

image from Jaume Ollé, 2 August 2019

According Flag Report 96, this flag [a possible unit variant] is from the Shiite militia Brigades of Ali al-Akbar, loyal to Ali al Sistani, the respected ayatollah of Iraq. Headquarters at Baiji. Operations at north of Tikrit.
Jaume Ollé, 2 August 2019

The flag of Liwa (Battalion) Ali al-Akbar. It was established in 2014 and it is within the Popular Mobilization Forces the 11th Brigade. It is named after Ali al-Akbar, the son of Al-Husayn ibn Ali, the third Shia Imam, and Umm Layla, sometimes fully spelled as Ali al-Akbar ibn Al-Husayn. The Popular Mobilization Forces is an umbrella organization that comprises some 60-70 armed units/factions, of which Liwa Ali al-Akbar is one of them. (source #1, source #2 and source #3)
The flag has a horizontal green background, featuring the logo in the middle, as already depicted (image and source)
For the umbrella organization labeled as Popular Mobilization Forces, we include further information on the following entry: "UFE13-49. "Hezbollah, Iraq-Lenanon, ISIS Flag?" pending reorganization and update on the respective Iraq section.
For additional information on the Popular Mobilization Forces please go to al-Hashed (official website).
Esteban Rivera, 31 August 2019


Ideological affairs arm

image from William Garrison, 18 November 2019

Caption: " A flag of the ideological affairs arm of the popular mobilization forces [PMF] as seen in the town of Bartella, Ninewa province. Iraq - July 2019."
Source: https://enablingpeace.org/checking-iranian-power-in-iraq/
William Garrison, 18 November 2019


Green flag at Tal Afar airport

image from William Garrison, 2 December 2019

Flag (green), Iraq, unknown PMU (Popular Mobilization Unit).
Source: https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/07/iraq-pmu-iraq-us-saudi.html
Caption: Popular Mobilization Units gather around the Tal Afar airport as they and Iraqi forces backed by local militia, Aug. 27, 2017
Read more: https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/07/iraq-pmu-iraq-us-saudi.html#ixzz66vefyouu
William Garrison, 2 December 2019


Anger Brigade

image located by William Garrison, 25 March 2020

Source: http://oefoif.forumotion.net/t6606p30-popular-defense-brigade-and-league-of-the-righteous-flags
Caption: Iraq, Anger Brigade (PMF: Popular Mobilization Force) flag, c. Jan. 2016
William Garrison, 25 March 2020


Zainab's Protector Brigade

image located by William Garrison, 25 March 2020

Source: http://oefoif.forumotion.net/t6606p30-popular-defense-brigade-and-league-of-the-righteous-flags
Caption: Iraq (Syria), Zainab's Protector Brigade, c. Jan 2016
William Garrison, 25 March 2020

Variant flag

image located by William Garrison, 25 March 2020

Source: http://oefoif.forumotion.net/t6606p30-popular-defense-brigade-and-league-of-the-righteous-flags
Citation: "League of the Righteous" flag, Iraq, c. Jan. 2016 [the two-prong Zulifqur sword indicates that this is a Shia-Muslim unit]
William Garrison, 25 March 2020


Imam Mohammed Al-Jawad Brigade

image located by William Garrison, 25 March 2020

Source: http://oefoif.forumotion.net/t6606p30-popular-defense-brigade-and-league-of-the-righteous-flags
Caption: Imam Mohammed Al-Jawad Brigade, The First Brigade; c. Jan. 2016. The two-prong sword indicates that this is a Shia-Muslim unit.
William Garrison, 25 March 2020


Soldiers of Imam Brigade

image located by William Garrison, 26 March 2020

Source: http://oefoif.forumotion.net/t6606p30-popular-defense-brigade-and-league-of-the-righteous-flags
Citation: Soldiers of Imam Brigade, Iraq, c. Jan. 2016.
William Garrison, 26 March 2020


Najafi Brigade

image located by William Garrison, 26 March 2020

Source: http://oefoif.forumotion.net/t6606p30-popular-defense-brigade-and-league-of-the-righteous-flags
Caption: "Najafi" brigade; bottom line reads "al-Najafi" in Arabic, Iraq, c. Jan. 2016; the two-prong sword indicates that this is a Shia-Muslim unit.
William Garrison, 26 March 2020


Praise Brigade

image located by William Garrison, 26 March 2020

source: http://oefoif.forumotion.net/t6606p30-popular-defense-brigade-and-league-of-the-righteous-flags
Citation: "Praise" brigade, Iraq, c. an. 2016, the map of Iraq and the two-prong sword indicates that this is a Shia-Muslim unit.
William Garrison, 26 March 2020


Al-Ashtar Brigade

image located by William Garrison, 26 March 2020

Source: http://oefoif.forumotion.net/t6606p30-popular-defense-brigade-and-league-of-the-righteous-flags
Citation: Al-Ashtar Brigade (the bottom yellow line reads: Saraya al-Ashtar ), a Shia-Muslim unit opposed to the Sunni-Muslim government of Bahrain, c. Jan. 2016.
William Garrison, 26 March 2020


Imam Ali Battalion

image located by William Garrison, 27 March 2020

Source: http://oefoif.forumotion.net/t6606p30-popular-defense-brigade-and-league-of-the-righteous-flags
Citation: Map of Iraq, Imam Ali Battalion ("Ali" in Arabic appears below the AK-47 gun); c. Jan. 2016.
William Garrison, 27 March 2020


Compilations of PMD flags

images located by William Garrison, 27 March 2020

Source: http://oefoif.forumotion.net/t6606p30-popular-defense-brigade-and-league-of-the-righteous-flags
Key (8 flags in 2 jpg attachments):
1 - Conquering Lion of God
2 - Awaited Mehdi
3 - Islamic Merit Party
4 - Badr Organization
5 - Imam Ali Btns.
6 - Peace Brigades
7 - Popular Crowds (Mobilization)
8 - League of People's Righteous
William Garrison, 27 March 2020