Iran-Backed Militias Kick ISIS Out, Start Terrorizing EVERYONE
After Iran-supported Shiite militias freed an Iraqi city from the Islamic State, they carried out revenge attacks on Sunnis by terrorizing 30 villages and kidnapping at least 11 men in the surrounding area, according to a report by Human Rights Watch.
It appears some of the attacks were premeditated, “indicating culpability by government political and military bodies that oversee the militias,” stated the report, titled After Liberation Came Destruction.
Amerli, a city in Salah al-Din province in northeastern Iraq, was liberated in August of 2014, after a three month-long siege. U.S. and Iraqi air strikes aided Shiite militias and Kurdish and Iraqi ground forces, freeing the area from Islamic State fighters.
Following the offensive, Shiite militias looted villages around Amerli, taking valuables such as “refrigerators, televisions, clothing and even electrical wiring.” Then, militias burned homes, business and entire villages in the ethnically and religiously diverse Salah al-Din and Kirkuk provinces, according to interviews and satellite imagery analyzed by HRW.
The attacks on Sunni villages were driven by revenge and intended to alter the demographic make-up of the provinces, according to witnesses who spoke to HRW. Assailants may have also been seeking retribution against collaborators with the Islamic State, in addition to targeting victims on the basis of religious sect.
Sectarian reprisals could drive Sunnis to join the Islamic State, as reported by The Long War Journal.
Iran is using Shiite proxy forces to extend its influence into the region while fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Although Iran is still considered a state sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. State Department, the coalition has had tacit collaboration with Iranian forces as both face the Islamic State.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Iranian involvement in Iraq could be “positive” as long as it doesn’t lead to sectarianism in January.
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