Holding Tikrit, Iraq Fuels New Round of Sectarian Unrest

Shi'ite Militias Reacting Harshly to 'Suspect' Sunnis

The “liberation” of Tikrit from ISIS has been touted by the Iraqi government as their big military win in a war that has been beset by constant failure. It’s the biggest city they’ve recovered, to be sure.

But it could rapidly become their biggest problem, as predictably, the Shi’ite militias involved in the takeover are hassling the Sunni locals, with lists of 6,000+ “suspects” in the city that they believe might be supporters of ISIS.

It’s nothing new, as these exact same problems, along with lynchings and lootings, have been seen time and again in “liberated” Sunni towns taken back from ISIS. Tikrit is just a lot bigger, and higher profile.

Thus, while the Iraqi government continues to try to downplay the flaws in their holding of the city, insisting the number of extrajudicial killings is actually lower than they expected, the day-to-day hassles of living in what amounts to living under a sectarian occupation are fueling tensions which will be adding to the problem in the long term.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.