Mapping al-hashd al-shaabi (The Popular Mobilisation)

Important notes: Firstly, this is a work in progress, I will be developing it as time goes on. Secondly, I don’t claim that this information is reliable, in fact many of the sources are unverifiable, journalistic, or from information that is recycled by security analysts and think tankers within the defence establishment. Other sources include the websites of the organisations themselves and Arabic sources which are often far from impartial. I will add a list of sources soon. Thirdly, the colour coding is a simplistic attempt to differentiate between those elements which fall more within an Iraqi nationalist vis-a-vis Iranian sphere of influence. I don’t claim that this is particularly accurate in its details, but it is designed to capture one particular dynamic of internal tension, particularly at the command level.

My research interest here is how these groups have adapted different political stances and strategies with regards to Iraq’s extant political structures as well as other mobilisations, principally the ongoing “reform protest movement”. Blue has been used to highlight political and civil society dimensions of these groups.

Finally, apologies for inaccuracies, this is an early attempt to get a handle on this complex phenomenon. Corrections and additions are more than welcome!

P.S Since the map is so large I’ve hosted on a high-res image hosting service where it can be properly viewed or downloaded (warning: over 100megs!)

Please find it here:


Sources: here are some of the sources information was drawn from…

On Kata’ib Hezbollah:

Kirk H. Sowell has written extensively on the Iraqi militias e.g.

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi has written extensively on militant groups across Syria and Iraq e.g. and many more.

Michael Knights, particularly on the overall numbers and division of forces:

Other sources:






Spread the word. Share this post!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: