Sunday, 23 November 2014 17:11

Militias embedded within Iraqi government to impose Iran's will

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Since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the Iran-backed sectarian militias embedded themselves within the structures of the successive occupation's governments, which has become far too reliant on their power to contemplate cracking down on the opponents.

Over 50 sectarian militias are brutally practicing criminal acts in Iraq. These terrorist groups are actively recruiting extremists and bringing fighters into highly ideological, and rabidly sectarian organizations; ultimately to embed them into the current government military and police forces.

These terrorist groups have deep ideological and organizational links to Iran, are sweeping away what is left of any notion of the "sovereign state" alleged by the Baghdad government.

Together, they have committed horrifying human rights abuses against Iraqis.

Recently, those militias, along with governmental security forces, reportedly executed around 250 of local residents from Diyala province, including children. An Amnesty International report detailed how these militias regularly carried out extrajudicial summary executions, and reported that dozens of civilians have been killed in government buildings.

Iran has led the way in developing Iraq's militias. Tehran has bolstered its network of new and old Iraqi proxy groups to provide a steady flow of fighters to Syria. Some of these Iraqi forces, who had been fighting on behalf of Bashar al-Assad's regime, redeployed back to Iraq and form the nucleus of newer militia groups which are currently fighting along the government troops.

Due to Iran's Syria-focused recruitment efforts, Tehran's proxies also had a leg up on pulling in new fighters for the Iraq front. In April, Iran-backed groups such as Kataib Hezbollah, Badr, and Asaib Ahl al-Haq called for fresh recruits to fight in Iraq.

Eventually, these calls morphed into Iraqi militias spinning off popular committee-based militias under their command. While the creation of so many groups may seem unnecessarily complicated, it actually helps create the image of wide-ranging popular support for militias promoting Iran's policies and ideology. Furthermore, it allows established groups to more easily separate new, less-experienced volunteers from career militiamen.

For example the Badr Organization, an armed group in the thousands and one of Iran's primary clients in Iraq, is another pillar of Tehran's efforts to develop sectarian militias. During the Iraq Occupation, through its domination of government offices, the group ran a number of sectarian death squads. Badr has also been involved in the fighting in Syria, creating the Martyr Baqir al-Sadr Force for that purpose. But it is in Baghdad where the Badr Organization's influence is strongest.

The group's sway extends deep into Iraq's Internal Security Forces, where it is said to directly manage many police and special operations-type groups. Badr also has great influence in the political sphere: It has secured key positions within the Iraqi government, and is part of the designated Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's State of Law alliance -- Abadi even has appointed one of its leaders, Mohammed al-Ghabban as the country's interior minister.

Badr's militiamen have spread far and wide among the constellation of Iraq's Iranian proxies. Its alumni include Kataib Hezbollah leader Jamal al-Ibrahimi, and Wathiq al-Battat leader of the Mukhtar Army, a hyper-sectarian group that once launched a rocket attack against Iranian dissidents at Camp Liberty.

Finally, all these bloody militias have been created just to impose Iran's will within Iraq, which fuelling a dangerous cycle of sectarian violence that tearing the country apart.

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