Shi’ite Militia Revenge Killings Raise Sectarian Tensions in Iraq

Shi'ite MPs Downplay 'Misdeeds' of Vital Militias

The Iraqi military is trying to keep Shi’ite militias out of the front-line territories in central Iraq. It’s not hard to see why, with the reports of Shi’ite militias massacring Sunni tribesmen time and again in revenge killings.

The militias claim that those slain were ISIS backers, and that the bloody revenge killings are entirely appropriate. The efforts to keep them out of Sunni towns are also facing growing political backlash.

Key Shi’ite MP Fateh Hassan, himself a member of one such militia, defended the factions as “vital” to the military security of Iraq. Given the Iraqi Army’s poor showing against ISIS, he may well have a point.

But while Hassan concedes the “misdeeds” of some fighters, he insists they aren’t of any great import, and that “such practices happen during wartime.” Given the religious nature of the war, however, these misdeeds are actually making the situation much, much worse.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of