Thursday, November 6, 2014

FP reporter accuses Iraq Shia militias of systematic campaign to destroy Sunni towns and drive population out

Foreign Policy reporter in Iraq says Shia militias, who largely replaced the Iraqi army after its collapse this summer, are running a systematic campaign of destroying Sunni towns and driving the population out. The reporter warns that, if left unchecked, the militias will plunge Iraq into new depths of revenge killings and destruction.

Separately, numerous bombing against Shia targets by ISIS were reported in the last few days as well as an execution of hundreds of members of the anti-ISIS Sunni tribe Albu Nimr after its defeat by ISIS. The other side of a cycle of sectarian violence escalating in Iraq.

Also noteworthy is what the reporter says about the relations between Kurdish Peshmerga and Shia militias in the area. Another time bomb waiting to detonate

Foreign Policy () {

The Gangs of Iraq

Date = NOVEMBER 3, 2014


Beyond the main road, an entire neighborhood of two-story homes was razed and flattened, with concrete slab roofs heaped atop piles of rubble. The destruction was overwhelming. The only houses that remained standing shared one common feature -- blackened exterior windows showing where the militia had set fire to them in their efforts to destroy whatever they could not loot.

Families that had been driven from their homes told us that when the militia arrived, they destroyed the families' homes. Former residents told us that those who have tried to return are accused of being Islamic State members or sympathizers; some were held by the militia for days, blindfolded, questioned, and beaten -- or simply disappeared...

The militia had made no effort to conceal its crimes, but instead advertised their destruction by spray-painting "Khorasani" and Shiite slogans on the walls that were still standing.


In a back corner of the village, Kurdish Peshmerga forces have established a small base from which they control a small residential quarter. It seemed their only common goal with the Shiite militia was repelling the Islamic State. As the Khorasani Brigade turned their efforts toward driving out the Sunni Arab population that lived in the town, the Kurdish forces found themselves outnumbered and powerless to intervene. The Peshmerga commander told us that the Shiite militia will not allow his forces to enter areas where they exercise control.

As we walked around the handful of streets under Peshmerga control, the air became filled with smoke as the Khorasani Brigade set more houses on fire. Approaching one, we could still see the stain where the militia had poured the kerosene they used to start the fire. It was deliberate and precise. As we watched the smoke billow from one house, its mud brick walls collapsed in front of us. There is little chance that Yengija's residents will ever return here. If any do, they will find that where they formerly lived and worked is now a scene of utter destruction.

What we saw at Yengija was not at all unique. During our visit to a makeshift camp at the foot of nearby hills, we met dozens of displaced families from more than 20 predominantly Sunni villages within a 10-mile radius of Yengija. They all provided similar, chilling accounts of the systematic destruction of their villages by government-backed militias determined to prevent Sunni Arabs from returning. Hundreds of families have been left homeless, and are now taking shelter in abandoned factories, in graveyards, and under cars and trucks.


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