On Thursday, Amnesty International announced that war crimes have been committed in Iraq by Hashid Shaabi, Shi’ite Muslim militias fighting alongside Iraqi troops against the Islamic State.
“International arms suppliers, including the USA, European countries, Russia and Iran, must wake up to the fact that all arms transfers to Iraq carry a real risk of ending up in the hands of militia groups with long histories of human rights violations,” saidPatrick Wilcken, an Amnesty researcher.
Hashid Shaabi, which receives most of it’s funding from Iran, reportedly used weapons provided to the Iraqi military by the United States, Europe, Russia and Iran to commit war crimes that include torture, summary executions, and enforced disappearances.
However, Hashid Shaabi has denounced Amnesty’s claim, calling it a lie, while arguing that it has saved Iraq by battling against ISIS, preventing the jihadis from encroaching on Baghdad.
These lies falsify truths and contribute directly or indirectly to the continuation of struggles that the Iraqi people and the people of neighbouring countries suffer from. This is very clear in this report when it is purposefully slandering an official government institution”, said Ahmed al-Assadi, a Hashid spokesman.
In November, Hashid Shaabi officially joined forces with the Iraqi military, but was boycotted by Sunni representatives who were skeptical of giving more power and influence to the Shi’ites and Iran. Many expressed concern over the Iraqi government’s ability to control Hashid Shaabi.
When selling arms to militias in nations that are hotbeds of terrorism and human rights violations, it is imperative that Western nations establish strict guidelines to prevent the use of weapons by militias committing acts of violence and human rights abuses.
“U.S., European weapons used to commit war crimes in Iraq – Amnesty”
REUTERS, January 5, 2017
Militias fighting alongside Iraqi troops against Islamic State are committing war crimes using weapons provided to the Iraqi military by the United States, Europe, Russia and Iran, Amnesty International said on Thursday.
The rights group said that the predominantly Shi’ite Muslim militias, known collective as the Hashid Shaabi, were using weapons from Iraqi military stockpiles to commit war crimes including enforced disappearances, torture and summary killings.
Hashid Shaabi rejected Amnesty’s accusation as “lies”.
Parliament voted for the Hashid to formally become part of Iraq’s armed forces in November but the session was boycotted by Sunni Muslim representatives, who worry the move will entrench Shi’ite majority rule as well as Iran’s regional influence.
Iraqi and Western officials have expressed serious concern about the government’s ability to bring the Shi’ite militias under greater control.