Shabaks turn into Iranian arm in northern Iraq
Shabak Forces were established by the Badr Organization which is affiliated with the pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Forces, in 2014.
They include hundreds of fighters who were joined by other members of the Shabak, only to grow in number after that.
This faction extends its control over the road linking the city of Mosul in the Iraqi province of Nineveh, with Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region.
It generates income by imposing royalties on this road.
Former Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, and his successor, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, failed in ending the security operations and unauthorized economic activities of the Shabak militia in the plains of Nineveh.
The militia continues to operate in the same area, even under incumbent Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corpse was able to include the Shabak into it, given the fact of shared ideological and religious beliefs between the two groups.
However, there are sectarian differences between the Shabak and the Iranian regime. The Shabaks are greatly influenced by Sufi orders. Consequently, they had their own beliefs, despite their Shiite affiliations.
Nonetheless, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corpse overlooked these differences and worked to separate the Shabaks from Kurds with which they lived for a long time. The Shabaks also speak Kurdish, being descendants of the Kurds.
Tehran encourages religious affiliations at the expense of national affiliations.
During the past months, the autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq was subjected to missile attacks from Nineveh.
This encouraged the regional government to accuse the Shabaks of being responsible for the attacks, even as the latter denied such accusations.