Tehran’s mullahs are using the fight against ISIS as a pretext to persecute Sunni Muslims and consolidate its military presence in neighbouring countries, according to reports.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran said: “The Iranian Resistance warns of the escalating presence of the criminal revolutionary guards of the terrorist Qods Force in Iraq that is a blatant breach of UN Security Council resolutions and underscores that their objective is not to fight ISIS, but to compensate for the heavy blow caused by Maliki’s ouster and to consolidate the velayat-e faqih caliphate in Iraq.
“The slaughter and forced migration, along with aggression against the Iraqi people, in particular the Sunnis, and ridding them of their property by the revolutionary guards and their affiliated militias under the pretext of fighting ISIS has endangered peace and security throughout the region and fuels the machine of extremism and terrorism in the whole region.”
More than 7,000 Qods Force guards were now stationed
in Baghdad, Diyala and Salah ad-Din provinces and the cities of Samarra, Karbala, Najaf, Khaneqain, Sa’adiyah and Jaloula, the Resistance said.
Iran’s Defense Minister Dehqan has insisted the Qods Force is there to ‘offer advice, guidance and training’ to the Iraqis.
But the Resistance has stated that following the uprising against former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki in 2013, Iran has broadened its interference to suppress strengthen their hand in Iraq, and building forces in the country ever since.
Since March 2014, 15-day training courses have been arranged for these militias in Iran, as well as weapons and equipment in an attempt to organize a powerful force capable of preserving the power in the hands of Maliki and Iranian regime’s agents.
The Iranian Resistance said: “In a shocking report on December 15, the Al-Jazeera TV unveiled the bombing of Sunni areas and forcible displacement of the Sunnis in Iraq including in Diyala and Salah ad-Din and especially in Samarra, various districts of Baghdad and its suburbs such as Mahmoudiyah, Arab Jabour, Jarf-al-Sakhar, Yousefiyah, Latifiyah, Abu Ghraib, Taji and Moshahedeh by the militias affiliated with the QF. The number of forcibly displaced people in Baghdad reaches one million.
They quoted one resident of Jarf-al-Sakhar as saying: “Militias burn homes, arrest the youth, and kill them in undisclosed locations. No Sunni family is left in Jarf-al-Sakhar. They arrest young and old men, forcibly displace the families, and kill them. We are witnessing the beginning of an Iranian caliphate just as ISIS has announced its caliphate.”
Then on October 14, 2014, Amnesty International noted the
the affiliation of the militias to the Iranian regime in a report entitled ‘Absolute impunity, Militia rule in Iraq’, writing: “The growing power of Shi’a militias has contributed to an overall deterioration in security and an atmosphere of lawlessness. Shi’a militias are ruthlessly targeting Sunni civilians on a sectarian basis under the guise of fighting terrorism, in an apparent bid to punish Sunnis for the rise of the IS and for its heinous crimes.
Scores of unidentified bodies have been discovered across the country handcuffed and with gunshot wounds to the head, indicating a pattern of deliberate execution-style killings.
“Militia members, numbering tens of thousands, wear military uniforms, but they operate outside any legal framework and without any official oversight.
By granting its blessing to militias who routinely commit such abhorrent abuses, the Iraqi government is sanctioning war crimes and fuelling a dangerous cycle of sectarian violence that is tearing the country apart.
Successive Iraqi governments have displayed a callous disregard for fundamental human rights principles. The new government must now change course and put in place effective mechanisms to investigate abuses by Shi’a militias and Iraqi forces and hold accountable those responsible.”
On September 18, 2014, the Foreign Policy website wrote in an article entitled ‘Iraq’s Shiite militias are becoming as great a danger as the Islamic State’: “These groups, many of which have deep ideological and organizational links to Iran are actively recruiting – drawing potential soldiers away from the Iraqi army and police and bringing fighters into highly ideological, anti-American, and rabidly sectarian organizations. Many of these trainees are not simply being used to push back Sunni jihadists, but in many cases form a rear guard used to control districts that are supposedly under Baghdad’s control. In early June, Shiite militias, along with Iraqi security forces, reportedly executed around 255 prisoners, including children. The growth of these pro-Iranian Shiite militias, and many more like them, helps demonstrate Iran’s goals for the domination of Shiite Iraq. These groups not only benefit from Iran’s patronage and organizational capabilities – they also all march to Tehran’s ideological tune. They are loyal to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and Iran’s ideology of absolute wilayat-e faqih.”
On September 16, The New York Times wrote: “We break into an area and kill the ones who are threatening people,’ said one 18-year-old fighter with Asaib Ahl al-Haq… insisting that their militia commanders had been given authority by Iraqi security officials. This militia was once a leading killer of American troops. Alla Maki, a Sunni lawmaker said that under former Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, Asaib Ahl al-Haq was ‘encouraged to do dirty jobs like killing Sunnis, and they were allowed to operate freely. Now the international community are all being inspired by the removal of Maliki personally, but the policy is still going on’. So far, though, there is no sign of any official attempts to investigate even the most publicized allegations of extra-judicial killings of Sunnis by Asaib Ahl al-Haq.”