Sjiamuslimske militser i Irak er like farlige som kalifatet
Khomeini militser formerer seg raskt i Irak og har blandet seg i strukturer til regjeringen i Bagdad, som har blitt altfor avhengig av dem for å tenke å kunne slå dem ned. Sammen har de også begått forferdelige brudd på menneskerettighetene. Disse militser er lojale til øverste leder av den islamske revolusjonen, Ayatollah Khamenei, og læren om Wilayat-e faqih absolutt uttalt av Khomeini som gir Lederen en total politisk og religiøs autoritet. Disse militsene i Irak følger etter modellen Hizbollah i Libanon, og de kjemper i Irak for å importere Irans islamske revolusjon .
Væpnede menn poserer med avkappede hoder, massakrer i moskeene under fredagsbønnen, den utstrakte bruken av transnasjonale jihadister – disse er forbrytelser som vanligvis forbindes med den Baghdadis islamske staten. Men mange sjiamuslimske militsgrupper i Irak begår også slike forbrytelser. Sjiamuslimske militser formerer seg i Irak og spiller en stadig viktigere rolle i kampen mot de sunnimuslimske jihadister i regionen. De fleste av disse fraksjonene opprettholder ideologiske og organisatoriske bånd med Iran, og de undergraver sakte men sikkert det som er igjen av myndigheten i Bagdad regjeringen. Mer enn 50 sjiamuslimske militser rekrutterer og kjemper i dag i Irak. Disse gruppene rekrutterer aktivt – og fratar den irakiske hæren og politiet potensielle rekrutter og indoktrinerer disse ungdommene i sine anti-amerikanske hyper-ideologiske organisasjoner. Mange av disse lærlingene er ikke bare mobilisert til å slå tilbake sunni jihadister; i mange tilfeller, danner de også en baktropp som overvåker distrikter ment å være under kontroll av regjeringen i Bagdad .
Armed men posing
with severed heads, massacres
of mosque-goers during Friday prayers, massive reliance on transnational jihadists — these are crimes that are usually associated with the Islamic State (IS). However, they’re also the actions of some of Iraq’s growing Shiite militia organizations, which are playing an increasingly prominent role in fighting the Sunni jihadists. These groups, many of which have deep ideological and organizational links to Iran, are sweeping away what is left of any notion of the Baghdad government’s authority — and represent a massive challenge to President Barack Obama’s stated goal
of working with an inclusive Iraqi government to push back IS.
Over 50 Shiite militias are now recruiting and fighting in Iraq. These groups are actively recruiting — drawing potential soldiers away from the Iraqi army and police and bringing fighters into highly ideological, anti-American, and rabidly sectarian organizations. Many of these trainees are not simply being used to push back Sunni jihadists, but in many cases form a rear guard used to control districts that are supposedly under Baghdad’s control.
Shiite militias have embedded themselves within the structures of the Iraqi government, which has become far too reliant on their power to contemplate cracking down on them. Together, they have committed horrifying human rights abuses: In early June, Shiite militias, along with Iraqi security forces, reportedly executed
around 255 prisoners, including children. An Amnesty International report from June detailed
how Shiite militias regularly carried out extrajudicial summary executions, and reported that dozens of Sunni prisoners were killed in government buildings.
The militias also played a leading role in the liberation of the besieged Shiite Turkmen town of Amerli. Kataib Hezbollah, a U.S.-designated terrorist group and direct Iranian proxy, even used
Iraqi government helicopters to deliver arms and other supplies during the battle. Just as IS has captured and used U.S.-supplied vehicles, U.S.-made M1A1 Abrams tanks provided to the Iraqi government have flown sectarian Shiite banners
and supported Kataib Hezbollah operations. Those tanks are not alone: U.S.-made armored Humvees
, which Kataib Hezbollah once targeted
during the Iraq War with rocket-propelled grenades (when driven by Americans), have also been taken by the militia and used in operations.
Iran has led the way in developing Iraq’s Shiite militias. Since May 2013, Tehran has bolstered its network of new and old Iraqi proxy groups to provide a steady flow of fighters to Syria. Some of these Iraqi forces, who had been fighting on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, redeployed
back to Iraq and form the nucleus of newer militia groups which are currently fighting the Baghdad government’s Sunni enemies.
Due to Iran’s Syria-focused recruitment efforts, Tehran’s proxies also had a leg up on pulling in new fighters for the Iraq front. In April, Iran-backed groups such as Kataib Hezbollah, Badr, and Asaib Ahl al-Haq called for fresh recruits to fight in Iraq. Eventually, these calls morphed into Iraqi Shiite militias spinning off popular committee-based militias under their command. While the creation of so many groups may seem unnecessarily complicated, it actually helps create the image of wide-ranging popular support for militias promoting Iran’s policies and ideology. Furthermore, it allows established groups to more easily separate new, less-experienced volunteers from career militiamen.
For example, Kataib Hezbollah — a militia formed
with the help of Lebanon’s Hezbollah in 2007 — recently announced the creation
of the Popular Defense Companies. The new group was crafted to take Iraqi Shiite volunteers under Kataib Hezbollah’s management, and today it boasts large deployments south of the cities of Baghdad, Diyala, and Amerli.
But it is in Baghdad where the Badr Organization’s influence is strongest.