A day after Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called for the integration of Hashd al-Shaabi militias into the Iraqi army, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi rebuffed Sadr’s demand. In the past, the Iran-backed militias have ignored orders from Baghdad, so it is unclear if Abadi even has the power to disband them if he wanted to. A spokesman for the Hashd al-Shaabi also rejected the idea. Unfortunately, in liberated Sunni areas, some militiamen have been accused of extrajudicial murders, disappearances, and other war crimes.
The militiamen are now expected to participate in an operation to liberate Tal Afar, even though Abadi previously ordered them to stay away. There is a concern that Turkey might involve itself if the militiamen are allowed to fight. Tal Afar is home to the Turkmen minority group, and Ankara has promised to protect their distant kin from any sectarian violence. Oddly, Turkmen militiamen were recently informed they would not be participating in the operation, even though they could temper Turkey’s role.
At least 65 were killed or found dead and 20 were wounded in recent violence:
In Mosul, 30 bodies, including those of children, were found in a mass grave at the Maash Market. A suicide bomber killed seven soldiers and wounded four more. Two brothers were shot dead. A Sudanese militant was killed in a recent operation.
An explosion at a funeral in Albu Ali al-Jassim killed three people and wounded three more.
A bomb in Bawiya killed an army officer and wounded five soldiers.
A P.K.K. member is accused of killing one person and wounding another in Sinjar.
In Dghara, a member of the air force was murdered.
In Baghdad, security forces killed three militants.
Read more by Margaret Griffis
- Seven U.S. Airmen Among 131 Killed in Iraq – March 16th, 2018
- U.S. Military Helicopter Crash; 63 Killed in Iraq – March 15th, 2018
- Mass Grave Found Near Kirkuk; 29 Killed in Iraq – March 14th, 2018
- Militiaman Shoots P.M.’s Security Officer; 32 Killed in Iraq – March 13th, 2018
- Scattered ISIS Attacks near Kirkuk; 54 Killed in Iraq – March 12th, 2018