Shi’ite Militias Using Mosul Battle for Revenge on Sunnis

Militia Checkpoints an Increasingly Common Sight Around Mosul

Throughout Iraq’s war aimed at recovering Sunni cities from ISIS have everywhere and always involved the substantial use of Shi’ite militias both in fighting and in the post-‘liberation’ occupation of the cities. This has repeatedly fueled complaints about the militias engaging in sectarian violence, kidnappings, revenge killings, and just plain robbery of Sunnis.

The Iraqi government went from denying that such abuse was taking place to promising to reign it in, though in practice promises to keep the militias away from the big cities they attack never pan out. In Mosul too, the militias are increasingly showing up.

Roads around the city, Iraq’s second largest, are increasingly surrounded by militia-run checkpoints, and that increasingly visible show of control over the city’s surroundings has many of the local Sunnis, particularly those trying to flee the ongoing war, worried that the same revenge attacks that have happened everywhere else are soon to follow.

So far, the checkpoints are mostly just harassing civilians trying to flee the area, with militia members claiming they are trying to prevent ISIS fighters from fleeing. Oftentimes, however, the militias haven’t been too picky on the distinction between ISIS and Sunni civilians, and that could well be a long-term problem for the area around Mosul, one that will likely last long after the ISIS war itself.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • outer_rl

    What in the way of evidence is there of abuses by these militias? It’s very easy for Saudi hired “media management” professionals to accuse shia Muslims of all sorts of crimes. Doesn’t automatically make it true.

    • chris chuba

      I would love to know the truth of this as well. This also plays into the ‘Iran making mischief’ narrative that the Saudis, U.S. and Israel love so much. I also notice that the actions of the Iraqi Kurds are white washed. At a minimum, the Iraqi Kurds are guilty of ethnic cleansing in an attempt to seize more territory.

    • Beagle
      • outer_rl

        That’s evidence of 3 extra judicial killings, basically unlawful executions, but the claims against the militias I’ve heard are a lot more than that, they are of systematic ethnic cleansing. I’ve seen no evidence of that – and it’s a very dangerous claim that seems to be unevidenced.

  • EAGLE

    On this site nobody believes that anyone Iran and Russia support can do anything wrong as evidenced by the first 2 comments on this subject.This site is definitely not an Anti-War site it is a place where people or agents of foreign adversaries spew ignorant and hypocritical alternate nonsense in favor of the country’s it supports in the wars around the world.All anyone has to do is read the headlines,viewpoints,and comments on this slanted,biased,site it’s not hard to conclude that the constant narrative is America ,NATO,and it’s allies are evil.It’s narrative is they start all the wars even though Iran,and North Korea publicly state they want to wipe America off the face of the earth.They defend Russia as it invades it’s smaller neighbors and supports a dictatorship in Syria that’s killing off it’s own people.In America you have the right to spew this ignorance,in Russia you’d have to register as a foreign agent just to operate this nonsense there,or killed in front of the Kremlin like they’re former prime minister was for standing up to Putin.In North Korea you’d be imprisoned for speaking against the dictator there and in Iran you’d probably be put to death for speaking against the Ayatollah there…Hahaha idiots living in a country where they’re free to criticize they’re leaders and they choose to defend countries where they’d be put to death or imprisoned for the same thing.USA

    • Basu Deb

      In your country nobody can stop the govt from killing innocent people of distant lands who have nothing to do with your govt. Some people, unlike you consider the govt does not represent them.They think they are the real Americans and they talk their mind. Do you know your warlords killed more than three million Koreans, most of them civilians, In the 50’s? The conscientious Americans are ashamed of it. Perhaps you are not. Do you think people of no other country enjoy as much freedom as you do? Then tell me why are you Americans so ignorant about sufferings your govt at the cost of your money is causing to people of the countries who do not submit to your government’s diktat? Freedom should make a person knowledgeable.

      • EAGLE

        This isn’t the50’s it’s 2017 and the North’s dictator is trying to acquire a missile capable of hitting America and it’s allies.I don’t know why that’s so hard for you to believe when he says that you believe everything else they put out.USA

    • Hint: If you’re going to slam Antiwar.com, it’s probably best to come up with something that can’t be disproven just by looking at the site’s front page. Sure, that would require actual work instead of just making shit up, but c’mon — it’s like you’re not even trying.

      • EAGLE

        Show me just 1 article on this site about any other adversarial country that’s doing hostile things to America.Last week when Russia flew into American ADIZ 4 times this site mentioned it a big fat zero times,but let America sail through the South China Sea and it’ll be America taking hostile actions trying to provoke China on this sites headline.If this is truly Anti-war site than why not report on all hostile actions that could lead to war?I know you don’t like how I point out how you’re agenda on this site is in favor of any adversary of America but,all anyone has to do is read your headlines and the comments nothing is Pro-America it’s all in favor of our adversaries.

    • chris chuba

      Really? From the first two posts …

      “What in the way of evidence is there of abuses by these militias?”
      “I would love to know the truth of this as well.”

      Speaking for myself, I have seen how much lying is done on a broad scale. I am not dismissing the possibility that the Shiite militias are acting badly. I am lamenting the fact that I have no way of knowing this. I read Fars news, they will claim that all is well but I’m not going to take their word for it either. If we had actual foreign correspondents, I would be more inclined to believe them but not the hacks from CNN. I don’t know where Jason Diatz got his info. I am not accusing him of lying but that is not to say that he is accurate.

  • 267July

    The Sunnis and Shi’ia need to sit down and smoke a peace pipe.