For immediate release 19 January 2016

Iraq : Meqhdadiya under siege for the second week

Call to dissolve the pro-Iran militias & Popular Mobilization Force (Hashid al-Shaabi)

The siege on the people of Diyala and the suppression, particularly in Meqhdadiya,  by the militias associated with Iran is continuing. The military and security forces that have entered the town have done nothing to protect the people. Limited reports from Meqhdadiya  indicate the torching of Sunni mosques and homes, as well as the slaughter of many young men of the town. In justifying the crimes of the Shi’ite militias Jassim al-Saadi, Commander of the Diyala Police, amazingly told reporters that these incidents are ‘routine’. 

On January 15, the representative of Grand Ayatollah Sistani strongly condemned the aggression against mosques and people’s homes in Meqhdadiya and announced that the security forces will be held accountable if these incidents are repeated. He called for the prohibition of armed groups outside government control.

Dr. Salim al-Jabouri, the Iraqi parliament President, told al-Jazeera TV on January 17: “Those who placed a siege on Meqhdadiya  and murdered the people there and blew up their mosques are known people with names who have infiltrated the security organs and the government needs to hold them accountable. Threats still exist in Meqhdadiya  and the criminals are looking to instigate another religious sedition in the country.”

Ms. Nahed al-Daini, a parliamentarian from Diyala, said on January 16: “Over 50% of the people in the security organs are under the influence of the militias. The militias operate under the official cover of the government and the security organs. They commit murder, abduction or arrest people with security force vehicles and while carrying security organs ID cards.”

Raad al-Dehlaki, another parliamentarian from Diyala told al-Taghier TV on January 16: “The real commander of the armed forces in Diyala is Hadi al-Ameri that officially has the security file from the Prime Minister. Thus, the militias that resort to abduction, murder and forcing people to migrate know that they have the support of someone that has more authority than the government and so the government cannot do anything to them.”

Modhanna al-Tamimi, the illegal governor of Diyala is also one of the Badr Organization leaders and one of Hadi Ameri’s men. 

The Iranian regime is planning to change the demographic composition of Diyala that has a border of 240 kilometres with Iran to its own advantage. The two border points of Manzariya and Mandali that are on the closest routes from Iran to Baghdad are situated in Diyala.

These atrocities are not limited to Sunni provinces. Haidar Mullah from the Union of Nationalistic Forces stated: “Several southern provinces are not inhabitable. The crimes that are perpetrated against the innocent in Basra Province is significant and the armed militias that have links to some political leaders spill the blood of Iraqis whether Sunni or Shia. The Popular Mobilization Force has created a cover for all armed groups.”

The senior commanders of the Popular Mobilization Force (Hashid al-Shaabi) are Faleh al-Fayyadh, Hadi al-Ameri, Abu Mehdi al-Muhandes and Qeiss al-Khazali who are all affiliated with Iran’s Qods Force. On January 17, Faleh Fayyadh praised Iran’s role in Iraq in a meeting with the Iranian Minister of Defense and National Security Advisor and called for further interference by the Iranian regime in Iraq.

Concurrent with these developments, in recent days, Shi’ia militias that the Iranian regime holds great sway over abducted three U.S. citizens south of Baghdad.

As the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA) has continuously declared, until the time that the militias and the Popular Mobilization Force  (Hashid al-Shaabi),whichprovides its legal cover have been dissolved, insecurity, terrorism and killing of the innocent in Iraq shall continue, DAESH will be politically and socially fuelled, and security in the region and the world will be at risk.

Thus, once again, EIFA emphasizes the importance of the arrest and trial of the perpetrators of the tragedy in Meqhdadiya , especially Hadi al-Ameri, and brings to the attention of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and the U.S. government the fact that if they want peace and security in Iraq and if they wish to defeat Daesh, then they should dissolve all such militia groups. The only armed forces in Iraq should belong to the government and the Iranian regime ought to be evicted from Iraq forthwith.

Struan Stevenson

Struan Stevenson is President of the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA) He was a UK Conservative Member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2014 and was President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq from 2009-2014.