General David Petraeus, former US CENTCOM commander, while pointing to the role of militias in saving Baghdad in the past, stressed in an interview with the Iraqi News Site that Shiite militias in Iraq, due to their integrity, are more dangerous than the ISIS organization.
I completely agree with Petraeus’ remarks, with it being completely visible in Iraq’s current political and military arena. Currently, each of these Shiite militias have their own military apparatus and are parading in Baghdad and Iraq’s streets with their military convoys and no Iraqi force is authorized to stop or control them.
Currently, the abductions carried out by these militias have become a dilemma for the Al-Abadi government. These militias enter an area with their bulletproof glassed vehicles and military convoys and take away individuals with them. No one can ask them who are you or do you have an arrest warrant? Then they collect great sums of money from the families and ultimately kill the abductees and throw their bodies alongside roads. This has reached a point where Prime Minister Heidar Al-Abadi, in his visit from the Baghdad Central Operation Command, said that organized crimes such as theft, hostage taking and armed robberies are no less dangerous than the threat of terrorism and they must be stopped. He made it clear that nothing is above the law in this country.
On 11 June this year, during the transfer of former Iraqi Vice President and FA Minister Tareq Aziz’s corpse from Baghdad to Jordan, a convoy of militias entered the Baghdad Airport and took the corpse out of the airplane and took it to an unknown location outside the airport. Eventually, when the Iraqi government entered into talks with the militias, the corpse was returned to the airport. Tareq Aziz’s family announced that the Asa’ib militias were responsible for this act, yet the Iraqi government didn’t mention this issue at all and it wasn’t followed up.
On 27 April of this year, the Kata’ib Hezbollah militias attacked the police station in the Taji area north of Baghdad. After entering the police station they released 5 of their own prisoners and beat the forces in the station. Two days later, Mohamed Salem Al-Ghaban, Iraq’s Interior Minister, made a commitment to not allow anyone to carry arms outside the governmental structure. In another statement, Al-Ghaban stressed that security forces will prevent anyone who acts outside the law and government institutes. He described those who target the country’s security as more dangerous than ISIS.
The conclusion is that the militias that were once seen as the saviors of Baghdad have now turned into a plague for the Al-Abadi government, and the Iraqi security forces cannot withstand to confront them. It is worth noting that all these Shiite militia groups are under the supervision of the Iranian government and all of their wages, guns, ammunition and equipment are provided by Iran’s Quds Force.