Iraq Detains Sunni Women to Intimidate Families Into Opposing ISIS

Maliki Courts Tribes, But Alienates Them

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki today met with several Sunni tribal leaders in a bid to try to convince them to back his government in their ongoing war against ISIS, and to reject sectarianism.

At the same time, his government is continuing a policy of having security forces detain innocent Sunni women in cities around the front lines to try to intimidate their families into slowing the ISIS advance.

The large-scale detention of Sunni women without charges was a major grievance among Sunni protesters throughout 2013, before the Iraqi military attacked some of those protesters in Hawija, killing large numbers and fueling an open revolt in some cities.

ISIS has also used the detentions as a talking point in its own attempts to try to convince Sunni locals that they’ll be less abusive than the Maliki government, an argument that, despite their brutal history in Syria, seems to be convincing a lot of people.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of