Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Terrorist Groups Operating in Iraq

In Iraq today, unfortunately there a  host of different terrorist and criminal paramilitary groups that operate in Iraq, killing innocent civilians, expelling people from their homes, and attacking houses of worship. Some are on the radar and get the attention of the world media, and yet others operate underneath the radar. Nevertheless they have killed thousands and forced millions to flee their homes.  They include:

1. Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (or Sham or Levant) or ISIS, or ISIL, or DA'ISH as it is known in Arabic, led by Ibrahim Al-Badri (also known as Al-Baghdadi). They are based in Syria and Iraq. Some reports that they have ties to the Syrian Intelligence services belonging to the Assad regime, and the Iranian Intelligence, Talieh. 

2. Iranian Quds Force (which is a special paramilitary organization underneath the Iranian Revolutionary Guards). The Quds Force is led by Qasim Sulaymani. The Quds militia has been active in massacres of civilians in Diyala, Basra, Samarra, and Tikrit.

3. Asaib Ahl-Haq militia led by Qais al-Khazali. The Asaib militia, which is an offshoot of the Sadrist Mahdi Army Militia, has been notorious for massacres and mass executions of civilians in Diyala and villages outside of Baghdad. The most recent massacre was when the Asaib militiamen entered Musab bin Umayr Mosque in Diyala and slaughtered over 70 worshipers during the Friday prayers.

4. Sarayah Salam Militia (formerly Mehdi Army or Jaish Al-Mahdi, JAM) led by Moqtada Al-Sadr This militia has an extensive arsenal of rockets and armored vehicles, and had military parade in Baghdad in the summer of 2014. The militia is reportedly attacking homes in Samarra.

5. Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi Militia (Popular Mobilization Militia) another Sadrist militia, using the fatwa of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani to rally the fight against Sunnis. The militia has been reportedly fighting around Samarra and Tikrit. Haider Al-Abadi announced in September of 2014, that this militia was fighting alongside the government forces.

6. Badr Forces Militia, led by Hadi al-Amiri. Badr has been notorious for infiltrating the ranks of the Interior Ministry forces and responsible for the arrest, torture, and mass executions of Sunnis.

7. Abul-Fadhil Al-Abbass Brigade Militia, which has been reported active in fighting inside Syria defending the Assad regime, and recently fighting around Samarra and Tikrit.

8. Sarayah Talee'at Al-Khurasani (Khurasani Vanguard) Militia led by Ali Mahdi Al-Yasiri. It is controlled by Al-Talee'a Islamic Party, formed by Mohamed Taqi Al-Mudrassi. It has been fighting in Syria, mostly around Damascus, defending the Assad Regime. Some of the fighters have come back from Syria to fight in Samarra and around Tikrit.

9. Iraqi Hezbollah Militia led by Wathiq Al-Battat (which has become known by making terrorist threats against Kuwait and Saudi Arabia). The Interior Ministry actually issued an arrest warrant for Al-Battat for threatening to assassinate government officials, but the warrant was never executed

10. Hezbollah Al-Nujabaa Movement Militia led by Akram Al-Kaabi. The militia was formed by Al-Kaabi as an offshoot of the Asaib militia. The militia fought in Syria defending the Assad Regime, and is reported to join the other militias fighting in Samarra.  The militia has reportedly 3 battalions called Ammar Bin Yassir Battalion, Imam Hassan Al-Mujtabi Battalian, and Al-Hamad Battalion. 

11. Hezbollah Militia led by Karim Mahood Muhammadawi, who was infamous for running kidnapping and extortion rackets and trading in stolen properties (mostly cars) in Basra and the Marshland areas. 

12. Hezbollah Movement Militia led by Hassan Al-Sari

13.  Ghasl Al-Aar (Wash the Shame) Militia led by Jafar Al-Ragheef. The militia specialized in targeting for executions, Shiites who became Sunnis.

14. Al-Paratha Husseiniya Militia led by Jalaluddin al-Saghir. This militia was notorious for running secret torture chambers at the Al-Paratha center, in Aytefiyah area of Baghdad. 

15. Al-Youm Al-Mawoud (Promised Day) Brigade, belonging to the Sadrist Militia leaders Hazem Al-Ajraji and Ali Samaysem.

16. Yed Allah (Hand of God) Militia led by Ahmed al-Saadi

17. Thaer Allah (Revenge of God) Militia led by Walid al-Hilli 

18. Thaer Allah (Revenge of God) Organization Militia led by Yusuf Al-Sanadi  

19. Baqeyat Allah (Rest of God) Militia led by Mustafa al-Abadi.

20. Shaheed Al-Mahrab (Prayer Martyr) Militia led Ammar al-Hakim. This is an offshoot of the Badr Brigades, but it is led by the Islamic Higher Council party head Al-Hakim.

21. Dawa Party Militia led by Nouri Al-Maliki. Maliki established special paramilitaries from his Dawa party that reported to the Prime Minister's office.

22. Dawa Party - Iraq Branch Militia, led by Hashim al-Moussawi and Abdel-Karim Anzi.

23. World Aal-Bayt Militia led by Fadel Al Kaabi

24. Aal-Bayt Association Militia led by Musa Al-Hassani

25. Al-Qassas Al-Adil (Just Retribution) Militia led by Majid Ali Hussein

26. Kataib Al-Qassas (Retribution Brigades) Militia led by Abdullah Al-Lami

27. Al-Marjaeyya Soldiers Militia, a force reporting to Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani's office.

28. Al-Fatih (Conquering) Militia led by Sayed Kadhim Ali

29. Kataib Al-Dem Al-Zakeya (Pure Blood Brigades) Militia led by Ali Hakim. 

30. Sahwat Badr Militia, reporting to Nouri al-Maliki's personal guards.

31. Sarayah Al-Amr Bil-Marouf Wal Nahee An Al-Munkar (Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice Brigade) Militia led by Nadhim Al-Saree

32. Hussein Revenge Brigades Militia led by Ali Ghassan Shahbandar 

33. Mujaheed Al-Thawra Al-Islamiya Movement (Islamic Revolution Mujaheed Movement) Militia, linked to the Islamic Higher Council Party, led by Al-Hakeem.

34. Mokhtar Army Militia led by Atallah al-Husseini

35. Jund Al-Imam (Imam Soldiers) Militia led by Sami Al-Badri

36. Sarayah Al-Qassas (Retribution Brigades) Militia led by Rafid al-Maliki

37. Malik Ashtar Brigades, a militia led by Abbas Jaafer

38. Ashbal Al-Sadr (Sadr Cubs) Battalion Militia led by Mohammed Hussein Al-Sadr

39. Al-Mahdiya Movement Militia led by Mohammad Ali Al-Khurasani

40. Al-Fudhalaa (Virtuous) Militia led by Khazaal Al-Saadi

41. Al-Adalah (Justice) Militia led by Samir Sheikh Ali

42. Shaban 15 Organization Militia led by Hamza al-Battat

43. Badr Organization Militia led by Shaker Abu Rumi (this is separate from the Badr Forces led by Hadi Al-Ameri)

44. Sayid Al-Shuhada Movement (Master of Martyrs Movement) Militia led Nafee Al-Saymari and Sayed Dagher Al-Musawi

45. Iraqi National Congress militia led by Ahmed Chalabi. The INC militia was notorious for sectarian assassinations and executions early on 2003 to 2006, and filled the ranks of  the Interior Ministry forces.

46. Islamic Youth Gathering Militia led Muntisar Moussawi

47. Islamic Action Party Militia led by Sadiq Ali Hussein

48. Islamic Labor Organization Militia led by Abdul Karim Al-Mudarassi

49. Kawthar Committee to Rebuild the Shrines Militia led by Mansour Haqeqat

50. Anti-Terrorism Association Militia reporting to Muawafaq Al-Rubaie 

Many of these groups operate under the color of law and are closely linked to the central government security forces, which have been infiltrated by many of these paramilitary groups. In fact many of these militias are actually escorted by government security forces and military, and carry out the massacres under the cover of the government forces.

As you can see, the number of terrorist and criminal paramilitary groups in Iraq is huge, and unfortunately only one or two actually gets mentioned in the media. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Iraq: Campaign of Mass Murders of Sunni Prisoners [1]
Set International Inquiry Into Massacres by Security Forces, Allied Militias

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Iraq: Testimonies point to dozens of revenge killings of Sunni detainees
© Amnesty International.

Amnesty International has gathered evidence pointing to a pattern of extrajudicial executions of detainees by government forces and Shi’a militias in the Iraqi cities of Tal ‘Afar, Mosul and Ba’quba.

Surviving detainees and relatives of those killed gave graphic accounts that suggest Iraqi forces had carried out a series of vengeful attacks against Sunni detainees before withdrawing from Tal ‘Afar and Mosulf in northern Iraq. Both are now controlled by the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). In Ba’quba, central Iraq, government forces and Shi’a militias have been fending off attempts by ISIS to capture the city.

“Reports of multiple incidents where Sunni detainees have been killed in cold blood while in the custody of Iraqi forces are deeply alarming. The killings suggest a worrying pattern of reprisal attacks against Sunnis in retaliation for ISIS gains,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser, who is currently in northern Iraq.

“Even in the midst of war there are rules that must never be transgressed. Killing prisoners is a war crime. The government must immediately order an impartial and independent investigation into the killings, and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.”
Survivors and relatives of the victims told Amnesty International that around 50 Sunni detainees were extrajudicially executed in the building of the Anti-Terrorism Agency in al-Qala’a in Tal ‘Afar, on the night of 15 June. 

A survivor who narrowly escaped the attack described how four soldiers opened the door of the room where he was being held and began shooting at random:

“It was about 1.45 at night when four soldiers opened the door and called out a few names; it seems they were trying to check that they had the right room. They started to shoot continuous automatic fire, which went on for a long time…Three had Kalashnikov rifles and one had a machine gun...  There were at least three others that I could see behind them; maybe more but I could not see them. I was towards the back of the room and took cover by the toilet and then I was covered by the bodies of detainees who fell on top of me. I was saved by those who died. In the room where I was 46 were killed and I heard that some others were killed next door.”

One woman, Umm Mohammed, described the horrific state of the body of her cousin’s son, Kamal Fathi Hamza:

“He had been shot several times in the head and chest; the body was covered in blood but you couldn’t tell whose blood it was as the bodies were one on top of the other. He had not been convicted of anything; had just been arrested 10 or 15 days earlier. He had only just got married less than a month before he was killed.” 

Several other families also said they had relatives among the detainees who were killed in the Tal ‘Afar jail, in some cases with two or more relatives from the same family. Most said their relatives were arrested shortly before the killing and had been held in pre-trial detention. None had been tried.

In a separate incident in Mosul, several Sunni detainees were killed in the Anti-Terrorism Agency in Hay al-Danadan district. A survivor said that at around 10pm on 9 June soldiers came into the cell and took away 13 of the 82 detainees being held there. Then they heard gunshots ringing out.

“The soldiers took some of us out and beat us with cables and said we were terrorists, and then took us back to our cell. At 11.30 pm they opened the door and threw a hand grenade into the cell and closed the door and turned off the light. Six detainees were killed on the spot and many were injured, me among them; I was injured in the eye and leg. One died of his injuries several hours later. In the early morning some armed guys came and released us and took the injured to the hospital. It was then that we learned that the army and security forces had left Mosul.”

The Mayor of Ba’quba, Abdallah al-Hayali, told Amnesty International that his nephew Yassir al-‘Ali Ahmed al-Hayali, 21, was amongst up to 50 people extrajudicially executed in a similar incident in al-Wahda police station in the Mufaraq district central Baquba in the early hours of 16 June. He said that Yassir was arrested about a month earlier and tortured, including by having his nails removed and being given electric shocks in custody.

He was killed along with a number of others by members of a Shi’a militia in the presence of the head of al-Wahda police station in in Ba’quba. According to a medical report obtained by the Mayor, he had been shot in the head. Many of those killed with him had been shot in the head and the chest. Sunni policemen who witnessed the killing fled their posts afterwards for fear of reprisal.

The Governor of Diyala, ‘Amer al-Mujama’i told Amnesty International that he spoke to the only survivor to the mass killing, Ahmed Khalas Zaydan al-Haribi, during his visit to Ba’quba Teaching Hospital. He told him: “We were having a quiet night when we heard the shooting, then armed men in the presence of the head of the police station entered and started shooting at us”. Ahmed was injured in his leg and shoulder during the attack and was taken to the hospital. Two hours later he was abducted by members of a militia who killed him and dumped his body behind the hospital.

The Chief of Police in Diyala governorate said to the media that the detainees died because of mortar strike and reckless shootings by ISIS in an attempt to break into the prison.

Amnesty International is currently investigating reports that a large number of convicted prisoners have been killed by ISIS in Badoush Prison in Mosul.

The organisation is  calling on ISIS, as well as all armed groups and forces on all sides of the conflict to end the summary killings and torture of detainees, as well as the deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on civilians, all of which amount to war crimes and must be prosecuted under international law.

“Those among the warring parties in Iraq who are committing war crimes should know that the impunity they currently enjoy won’t last forever and that they may one day be held accountable for their crimes”, said Donatella Rovera.


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العراق: شهادات تشير إلى وقوع العشرات من أعمال القتل الانتقامية بحق المحتجزين السنة

© Amnesty International


جمعت منظمة العفو الدولية أدلة تشير إلى وجود نمط من الإعدامات خارج نطاق القضاء للمحتجزين من قبل القوات الحكومية والمليشيات الشيعية في مدن تلعفر والموصل وبعقوبة العراقية.

وتحدث المحتجزون، الذين ظلوا على قيد الحياة وأقارب المحتجزين الذين قتلوا، في رواياتهم عن قيام القوات العراقية بتنفيذسلسلة من الهجمات الانتقامية ضد المعتقلين السنة قبل الانسحاب من تلعفر والموصل في شمال العراق، اللتين تخضعان اليوم لسيطرة الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام (داعش). وفي بعقوبة، وسط العراق، تصدت قوات الحكومة والميليشيات الشيعية لمحاولات داعش للاستيلاء على المدينة.

وقالت كبيرة المستشارين لمواجهة الأزمات في منظمة العفو الدولية، دوناتيلا روفيرا، الموجودة حالياً في شمال العراق، إن "هناك تقارير عن حوادث عديدة قتل فيها المحتجزون السنة بلا رحمة أثناء وجودهم في قبضة القوات العراقية، وهي مثيرة للقلق العميق. وتشير عمليات القتل إلى نمط يبعث على القلق من الهجمات الانتقامية ضد السنة للرد على انتصارات داعش".

وأوضحت قائلة: "حتى في خضم الحرب هناك قواعد يجب أن لا يتم تجاوزها أبدًا. فقتل الأسرى جريمة من جرائم الحرب. ويتعين على الحكومة أن تأمر فوراً بإجراء تحقيق نزيه ومستقل في أعمال القتل، وضمان مثول المسؤولين عنها أمام العدالة".

وأبلغ ناجون وأقارب لضحايا منظمة العفو الدولية أنه جرى إعدام حوالي 50 من المعتقلين السنة في مبنى و"جهاز مكافحة الإرهاب" في القلعة، في تلعفر، ليلة 15 يونيو/حزيران.

ووصف أحد الناجين، الذي  نجا بالكاد من الهجوم، كيف فتح أربعة جنود باب الغرفة حيث كان محتجزاً، وبدأوا بإطلاق النار بشكل عشوائي:

"كانت الساعة قرابة 1.45 ليلاً عندما فتح أربعة جنود الباب ونادوا على بضعة أسماء؛ ويبدو أنهم كانوا يحاولون التحقق من أنهم في الغرفة الصحيحة. وأخذوا يطلقون النار بشكل تلقائي ومستمر، الأمر الذي استمر لفترة طويلة...كان ثلاثة منهم يحملون بنادق كلاشنيكوف، بينما حمل الآخر سلاحاً رشاشاً... وكان هناك ثلاثة آخرون على الأقل استطعت أن أراهم يقفون خلفهم؛ وربما كانوا أكثر، لكني لم أستطع رؤيتهم. إذ كنت في الجزء الخلفي من الغرفة، واحتميت بالمرحاض، ثم وجدت نفسي مغطى بجثث المعتقلين الذين انهالوا علي. وأنقذ أولئك الذين لقوا حتفهم حياتي. حيث قتل 46 في الغرفة التي كنت فيه،ا وسمعت أن البعض الآخر قتل في الغرفة المجاورة."

ووصفت امرأة، تدعى أم محمد، حالة جثة ابن عمها، كمال فتحي حمزة، المروعة قائلة:

"تم إطلاق النار عليه مرات عدة في الرأس والصدر. وكان جسمه مغطى بالدم، ولكن لم أستطع أن أعرف دم من كان، لأن الجثث تراكمت الواحدة فوق الأخرى. ولم يكن قد أدين بشيء؛ إذ اعتقل قبل 10 أو 15 يوماً. وكان قد تزوج للتو قبل أقل من شهر من مقتله."

وقالت إنه كان لللعديد من الأسر الأخرى أيضاً أقارب من بين المعتقلين الذين قتلوا في سجن تلعفر، وفي بعض الحالات اثنان أو أكثر من أفراد العائلة نفسها. وقال معظمهم إن أقاربهم اعتقلوا قبل وقت قصير من قتلهم، وقد كانوا موقوفين تمهيداً للمحاكمة، ولم يحاكم منهم أحد.

وفي حادثة منفصلة في الموصل، قتل العديد من المحتجزين السنة لدى "جهاز مكافحة الإرهاب" في حي الدنادان. وقال أحد الناجين إنه في حوالي الساعة 10 من مساء 9 يونيو/حزيران، جاء الجنود إلى الزنزانة واقتادوا 13 من 82 معتقلاً كانوا محتجزين هناك. ثم سمعوا  قرقعة طلقات الرصاص.

"أخذ الجنود بعضنا وانهالوا علينا بالضرب بالكابلات وقالوا إننا إرهابيون، ثم أعادونا إلى زنزانتنا. وعند الساعة 11:30 مساءً فتح الباب وألقيت قنبلة يدوية داخل الزنزانة، وأغلق الباب وأطفئ الضوء. فقتل ستة معتقلين على الفور وأصيب كثيرون، كنت من بينهم؛ حيث أصبت بجروح في العين والساق فقط. وتوفي شخص متأثراً بجروحه بعد عدة ساعات. وفي الصباح الباكر، جاء بعض الرجال المسلحين وأطلقوا سراحنا وأخذوا المصابين إلى المستشفى. وعلمنا بعد ذلك أن قوات الجيش والأمن قد غادرت الموصل."
وأبلغ قائممقام بعقوبة، عبد الله الحيالي، منظمة العفو الدولية أن ابن شقيقه، ياسر العلي الأحمد الحيالي، البالغ من العمر21 سنة، كان بين ما بربو على 50 شخصاً أعدموا خارج نطاق القضاء في حادثة مماثلة في في مركز شرطة الوحدة، في حي المفرق، بوسط بعقوبة، في الساعات الأولى من صباح 16 يونيو/حزيران. وقال إنه قبض على ياسر قبل حوالي الشهر وتعرض للتعذيب، بما في ذلك خلع أظافره وتعريضه للصدمات الكهربائية في سجنه.

وقتل إلى جانب آخرين على يد أعضاء ميليشيا شيعية بحضور رئيس مركز شرطة الوحدة في بعقوبة. ووفقاً لتقرير طبي حصل عليه القائمقام، فقد أصيب بالرصاص في رأسه. وأصيب العديد من أولئك الذين قتلوا بالرصاص في رؤوسهم وصدورهم. وفر رجال الشرطة السنة الذين شهدوا عمليات القتل من مواقعهم بعد ذلك خوفاً من الانتقام.
وأبلغ محافظ ديالى، عامر المجمعي، منظمة العفو الدولية أنه تحدث إلى الناجي الوحيد من عمليات قتل جماعية، وهو أحمد خلاص زيدان الحربي، أثناء زيارته لمستشفى بعقوبة التعليمي. وقال له: " كانت ليلة هادئة عندما سمعنا إطلاق نار، ثم دخل رجال مسلحون بحضور رئيس مركز الشرطة وراحوا يطلقون النار علينا". أصيب أحمد في الساق والكتف أثناء الهجوم، وتم نقله إلى المستشفى. وبعد ساعتين اختطفه أفراد إحدى الميليشيات وقتلوه وألقوا بجثته خلف المستشفى.

وقال رئيس شرطة محافظة ديالى لوسائل الإعلام إن المعتقلين توفوا بسبب قذائف الهاون وعمليات إطلاق النار المتهورة التي مارستها داعش في محاولة لاقتحام السجن.
وتحقق منظمة العفو الدولية حالياً في تقارير أفادت بأن داعش قتلت عدداً كبيراً من السجناء المحكوم عليهم في سجن بادوش في الموصل.

وتدعو منظمة العفو الدولية داعش، فضلاً عن جميع الجماعات والقوات المسلحة من جميع أطراف النزاع إلى التوقف عن أعمال القتل بإجراءات موجزة وعن تعذيب الحتجزين، فضلاً عن الهجمات المتعمدة والعشوائية على المدنيين، التي تشكل جميعها جرائم حرب، ويتعين محاكمة مرتكبيها بموجب القانون الدولي.

وأكدت دوناتيلا روفيرا قائلة: "يتعين على الأشخاص الذين يرتكبون جرائم حرب من الأطراف المتحاربة في العراق أن يعرفوا أن الإفلات من العقاب الذي يتمتعون به حالياً لن يدوم إلى الأبد، وأنهم سيساءلون يوماً ما عن جرائمهم".