Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has that he will increase government budget for the Popular Mobilization Forces (P.M.F.) next month. According to Fars News Agency, which is affiliated with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.), Abadi also told Iraqi reporters on Tuesday that allegations made against the P.M.F. are unsubstantiated. In a separate report, Fars News Agency that the increasing role of the P.M.F. has further strained ties between Baghdad and Ankara. Earlier today, Abadi reportedly slammed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for calling the P.M.F. a “terrorist organization.” The Turkish president had made the remarks yesterday, while also blasting the Iranian regime for its “expansionist” policies in the region.

Comment: The prominent role of the P.M.F. forces in military operations against the Islamic State – particularly in western Mosul – has been a constant matter of concern for Iraqi Sunnis as well as regional Sunni states. The P.M.F. consists of militia forces largely from Shiite but also other Iraqi ethnic and religious groups, and the alliance has now been legally integrated into the Iraqi security forces. But the fact that the most powerful units with the P.M.F. are controlled by the I.R.G.C. These groups have engaged in acts of arbitrary killing, kidnapping, looting and rights abuses in the past. It is feared that they may engage in revenge killing against Sunni inhabitants of western Mosul once the Islamic State is ousted. Turkey has warned in the past that it will not remain silent if Shiite militiamen persecuted local residents of western Mosul after the ouster of the Islamic State.