Iraq’s recapture of the city of Fallujah, a Sunni Arab city held by ISIS for over two years, has been presented as “liberation” done right, with officials praising the relative lack of destruction, compared to the virtual leveling of nearby Ramadi.
But the hopes that this is going to lead to more rapprochement with the Sunni minority has a big problem, and that is reports that the Shi’ite militias operating in the city have been engaging in looting and arson, something they’ve become notorious for around the country.
Iraqi officials were conscious of this risk, and went so far as to promise that the militias involved in the battle for Fallujah would remain outside the city. Yet in the hours after the victory was announced, the militias started showing up inside the city.
Officials then tried to talk up the early hours that followed as going relatively incident free, but it wasn’t long before the reports of looting began. The same militias had several members detained by the government as part of an investigation during the battle itself that they were kidnapping civilians fleeing Fallujah, and had tortured several to death to try to get them to confess to being ISIS.
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