Iraqi Shia men wave flags atop a bus decorated with a picture of their spirutual leader Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, May 10, 2003.
Damir Sagolj / Reuters

These days, one can hardly turn a street corner in Baghdad without coming face to face with a poster lionizing one of the more than 100,000 Iraqi Shia fighters who have risen to prominence battling the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), which began its march through the country in June 2014. Among the militias and brigades, the most prominent are a number of pre-existing Iranian-backed groups, including Asaib al-Haq, the Badr Brigade, and Ketaib Hezbollah, which work together under an umbrella militia force known as Hash’d al-Sha’bi (Popular Mobilization Force or PMF). These groups’ popularity came from their success

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