Shi’a Militia fighters allegedly tortured and killed detained civilians in Saqlawiya, North West of Fallujah, Iraq

Shi’a militia fighters have allegedly tortured and killed detainees during the assault on the city of Saqlawiya, approximately five miles North West of Fallujah, Iraq, according to local officials, medical staff and alleged video footage.

Officials including Iraqi Parliament Speaker Salim al-Juburi has urged Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to investigate the allegations.

The threat of sectarian attacks and reprisals during the fight against IS and it’s allied Sunni tribes is extremely high. Civilians escaping the conflict or remaining in place for the duration of a particular battle are all potential targets, particularly fighting age males between the ages of 16 – 50.

As previously reported on The WIDER View, IS are assisted by Sunni tribal allies in Iraq and Syria who are opposed to the predominantly Shia government, government military forces and militias, a number of whom are backed by Iran.

If the fight is to be shortened, even by just days or weeks, such allied Sunni tribes need to coaxed away from IS and assist in the fight against it.

If accusations of Shi’a sectarian torture and killings such as that reported above are proven to be correct, it will ensure that Sunni allied tribes remain loyal to IS and at the same time serve the IS narrative of Iranian and Shi’a militias targeting Sunni Muslims on sectarian grounds.

UPDATE: 07 June 2016:

Vice News have released a documentary following the Iraqi Golden division in its fight towards Hit and Fallujah.

  • Youtube Vice News video (07 Jun 2016) – Fighting the Islamic State with Iraq’s Golden Division: The Road to Fallujah:

It highlights some of what The WIDER View posted yesterday showing the importance of tribal culture within Iraq and the fine line between identifying genuine IS fighters and collaborators among the captured or innocent civilians that may be accused of being IS fighters and collaborators.

These accusations may be true or they may stem from on-going trouble and division between the accused and the accuser, their families or tribes.

If an accused individual is later found to be innocent, maltreatment, beatings or torture has already taken place.

Mistakes such as this will only assist recruitment by IS and other fundamentalist Sunni Islamic groups.

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