2 February 2015
Iraq: Humanitarian crisis created by Iranian regime
Numerous reports on the humanitarian crisis in Iraq issued by international organizations, such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch etc., clearly show that the destructive role of Iran has to be dealt with immediately. The foremost and key step in resolving this is to evict the Iranian regime, the Qods Force and its so-called Shiite militias from Iraq.
Human Rights Watch in its latest report, “Tyranny’s False Comfort”, states:
“In Iraq, ISIS owes much of its emergence to the abusive sectarian rule of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the resulting radicalization of the Sunni community. With Iranian backing, Maliki took personal control of Iraqi security forces and supported the formation of Shia militia, many of which brutally persecuted the minority Sunni population. Sunnis were excluded from select government jobs, rounded up and arbitrarily detained under new overbroad laws, summarily executed, and indiscriminately bombed.
“Many of the (Sunni) tribes that nearly single-handedly defeated Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) became so fearful of slaughter and persecution by pro-government security forces that when conflict broke out in 2014, they felt safer fighting those forces than ISIS…. Human rights groups persistently called attention to Maliki’s abusive rule, but the US, the United Kingdom, and other countries, eager to put their own military involvement in Iraq behind them, largely shut their eyes to this sectarian reign—and even plied it with arms.
“Maliki continues to serve as one of Iraq’s three vice presidents, and the weak government has vastly increased its reliance on Shia militia, allowing the mobilization of almost one million Shia fighters without government oversight or regulation. Indeed, because of the Iraqi army’s disarray, the militias are the lead ground forces fighting ISIS, despite their ongoing killing and cleansing of Sunnis as ostensible ISIS sympathizers. Until these atrocities end, the Shia militias are likely to do more to aid ISIS recruitment than to defeat ISIS on the battlefield.”
We have continuously been warning about the above points. The only solution for Iraq is to end the Iranian regime’s meddling and influence immediately. Thus we propose these measures:
- Eviction of Iran and its affiliated militias
- Participation and power sharing of the real representatives of the Iraqi people, particularly those who were fighting against Maliki. As a first step those who were engaged in the political process and were repressed by Maliki, should be allowed to return to the political scene. For example, five months after Dr Haider al-Abadi became prime minister, several senior Sunni leaders such as Dr Tariq al-Hashemi are still being forced to live in exile. This is a very weak record indeed.
- Independence of the judiciary and dismissing the elements associated with Iran and Maliki
The ethnic cleansing and genocide, forced migration, burning of mosques and homes of Sunnis in various regions of Iraq, especially in Diyala province, by the brutal Shiite militias affiliated with the terrorist Iranian Qods Force, undermine our fight against ISIS. Unless the Iranian regime’s agents are uprooted and evicted from Iraq the war against ISIS cannot be won.
President of the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA)
Struan Stevenson was a Member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2014 and was President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq from 2009 to 2014.
Some of EIFA’s previous relevant statements:
Conference announces the formation of EIFA in Brussels (11th June 2014) - Western countries, especially the U.S. and the U.K. and some other countries that had played a key role in toppling the former government in Iraq and empowering Maliki, bear serious responsibility for the current situation. For the past eight years the U.S. has provided unilateral support for Maliki and has maintained silence about his atrocities against Iraqi citizens, particularly the Sunni population and other religious and ethnic minorities as well as foreign refugees. The US has also turned a blind eye to the increasing domination of the Iranian regime in Iraq, which has played a major role in creating the current situation (Relates to: “US, the United Kingdom, and other countries, eager to put their own military involvement in Iraq behind them, largely shut their eyes to this sectarian reign—and even plied it with arms”).
The prospect of religious war in Iraq (4th August 2014) - The arbitrary execution of Sunnis in Baghdad, as well as other cities in Iraq, by Prime Minister Maliki’s forces and the militia affiliated with Iran, pushes Iraq more than ever toward a sectarian and religious war...........Unmistakably, these criminal measures that have turned into a daily routine in Iraq are the consequence of the sectarian and tribal policies of Maliki whose tenure has ended. The perpetrators of these atrocities are the militias associated with the prime minister’s office that are directly supported by Nouri al Maliki himself............ the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA) urges the international community, the United States and the European Union to condemn strongly these vile atrocities and to adopt specific measures to end this criminal behaviour by the militias affiliated with Maliki(Relates to: “Maliki took personal control of Iraqi security forces and supported the formation of Shia militia, many of which brutally persecuted the minority Sunni population”).
Speech by Struan Stevenson, European Parliament, Brussels 10th December 2014 - Nouri al-Maliki’s second term as Prime Minister, insisted upon by Iran and aided and abetted by the US, was a tragedy for the Iraqi people, for the region and for the world. His pursuit of a merciless "iron fist" policy along Shiite sectarian lines has caused mass campaigns of arbitrary arrests to become the rule rather than the exception; whereas execution rates rose to record heights and an increasing number of political opponents found themselves faced with trumped-up charges of terrorism. These issues, along with the already devastated state of Iraq, added greatly to the staggering casualties and destruction following the illegal invasion and occupation in 2003. But we stood aside and allowed Maliki, as a puppet of Tehran, to remain in office and now we are witnessing the results of this catastrophic policy…………….. As I highlighted again and again, Maliki utilised the claim of fighting a war against terror to secure his grip on power and the West fell for it, even although his war on terror was, in fact, a war against his political opponents. The sudden emergence of ISIS became a convenient focal point enabling Maliki to accelerate his sectarian campaign against his political foes. Indeed the reason ISIS made such rapid and spectacular gains across large tranches of Iraq was because they faced little or no resistance from the Sunni tribes, who often preferred the Islamic State to the brutal Iranian-led militias that had been terrorizing them for years (Relates to: “ISIS owes much of its emergence to the abusive sectarian rule of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the resulting radicalization of the Sunni community”).
EIFA: Strong condemnation of death sentence against prominent Sunni politician Dr Ahmed al-Alwani (25th November 2014) - The European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA) has reported to the UN Security Council that it considers the redemption of Sunni leaders such as Dr. Tariq al-Hashemi, Mr. Rafe al-Issawi and Dr. Ahmed al-Alwani as essential to future peaceful coexistence in Iraq. Therefore, EIFA calls on Prime Minister al-Abadi courageously and unequivocally to condemn this death sentence and to restore the Iraqi judicial system to one that is independent of political and particularly Iranian interference. The charges against Dr al-Alwani are bogus and he should be released immediately (Relates to: The corrupt and abusive judiciary remains unreformed, and Abadi’s calls for an end to abusive, exclusionary rule remain unimplemented. Over the long term, completing these reforms will be at least as important as military action to protect civilians from ISIS atrocities”).