The Pope’s Visit To Iraq | March 5 – 8, 2021

Avi Melamed ~ Inside The Middle East
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Iraq’s core struggle today is between Nationalist Iraqi Shi’ites and Non-Nationalist Iraqi Shi’ites. In that regard, why is the Pope’s visit to Iraq significant?


Some Background Info & Links

On Sunnis & Shi’ites


What Is The Mullah Regime?

On April 1, 1979, Iranians approved a new constitution creating a theocratic republic. And Iran’s official name became the Islamic Republic of Iran. An Islamic Shi’ite theocracy, Iran is ruled by mullahs. The word mullah is an Islamic clerical term. A mullah is a learned scholar of Islamic theology who is authorized to share his knowledge.

The Shi’ite clerical order is hierarchical, and therefore the Iranian regime itself is hierarchical. The central figure of the Islamic Revolution and the Supreme Leader of the Iranian Islamic Republic until his death in 1989 was Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

The word Ayatollah is two words that mean “Sign of God.” The current Supreme Leader since 1989 is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.


The Al-Hashd al-Sha’abi, The Popular Mobilization Units:

In July 2016, Iraq Prime Minister (2014 – 2018) Haidar al-Abadi, who was close with Iran, issued an executive order incorporating these and other Iraqi Shi’ite militias into Iraq’s armed forces – but as an independent military entity.

Four months later, in November 2016, the Iraqi parliament passed an official law establishing these militias as a new military force. By doing so, the Iraqi government created an additional official Iraqi military enterprise that works in parallel but separate from the Iraqi armed forces. They called this new framework Al-Hashd al-Sha’abi (the Popular Mobilization Units—the PMU). The PMU that functions parallel to, but independent and separate from, the Iraqi armed forces is funded and armed by the Iraqi government.

However, although the PMU was an official Iraqi military, financed and armed by Iraq, some of the major PMU Shi’ite militias fighting ISIS in Iraq were commanded and trained by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRG).

For more about the PMU please read the following articles:


Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani:

The most senior Shi’ite cleric is Ayatollah ‘Uzma—”the Grand Ayatollah.” Grand Ayatollah Ali Hosseini al-Sistani is viewed by many as the most powerful and influential Shi’ite Cleric in Iraq.

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