Massacre and forced migration of Sunnis by Iranian militias in Diyala, particularly in Meqhdadiya 

Iraqi PM Abadi, U.S. and UN Security Council must intervene to stop crimes against humanity in Diyala

Shocking reports are filtering out of Iraq of the organised slaughter and execution of Sunni citizens in Diyala Province and the blowing up of Sunni mosques, especially in the town of Meqhdadiya. Regrettably, the Government of Iraq and the U.S. government have been silent in the face of these atrocities being perpetrated by the militias affiliated with Iran who operate under the command of Hadi al-Ameri. 

Reports confirmed by various local, Iraqi and regional sources, claim the Shi’ite militias have issued an ultimatum to the Sunni residents of Meqhdadiya to leave the town immediately or face death. These atrocities are a crime against humanity and failure to condemn such actions fuels and strengthens Daesh, inflaming the spiral of violence in the region. 

The former chief of the security committee of Diyala Province Hussein al-Zobaydi told Al-Jazeera TV on January 12 that the slaughter of people of Meqhdadiya was a preplanned operation that immediately followed the bombing of a mosque blamed on Daesh. Subsequently, the Iranian affiliated militias controlled by Hadi al-Ameri resorted to atrocities in the province.

Similarly, the former Governor of Diyala Omar al-Hameiri stated in his interview with Al-Jazeera and Al-Taghier TV stations on January 12 that the “militias have executed over 90 young locals in the al-Orubeh and al-Asri districts of Meqhdadiya. They have set fire to Sunni mosques in front of the eyes of the local and the federal police. The militias conduct patrols in the region, enter all homes, and resort to systematic executions.”

“So far, the militias have blown up 10 Sunni mosques in Meqdadiya,”he added. Hameiri alleged that the Badr Organization and the Governor of Diyala are responsible for these massacres stating that Badr organization that is commanded by Hadi al-Ameri is affiliated with the Iranian Qods Force. 

According to reliable reports, two reporters of the Asharqiya television station have also been executed by the militias.

Some months ago, Muthanna al-Tamimi, the current Governor of Diyala who is a commander of 9 Badr militias, took over the Governor’s Building in Diyala and removed the lawful governor at gunpoint using the 9 Badr militias. A verdict by Iraq's Superior Court declared Tamimi’s governorship as illegal; nevertheless, he has continued illegally to occupy the office.

It seems clear that the Iranian regime, following its enforced retreat from its nuclear ambitions and its recent serious defeats in Syria, has now resorted to fresh adventurism and atrocities in Iraq. As we have warned time and again, it is the Iranian regime that continues to obstruct national reconciliation of and solidarity among the Iraqi people, which helps sustain Daesh.

The European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA) stresses that the international coalition led by the United States and the UN Security Council needs to take strong and practical measures to thwart the Iranian regime’s criminal and terrorist interventions in Iraq in tandem with other countries in the region. They also need to refer the file of the Iranian regime’s interference in Iraq to the UN Security Council and the International Criminal Courts.

The international community expects Haidar al-Abadi, the Prime Minister of Iraq, to end his silence and inaction regarding the atrocities of Hadi al-Ameri’s militias in Iraq, particularly in Diyala, and to dissolve swiftly and prohibit all such militia groups. EIFA also urges the religious authority immediately to intervene to prevent further atrocities being committed by the Shi’ia militias.

Struan Stevenson