Revenge killings now becoming prevalent as Iraqi forces liberate Mosul

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Revenge killings now becoming prevalent as Iraqi forces liberate Mosul

As Iraqi forces continue to wrap up operations in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, and a former bastion for ISIS, revenge killings are becoming more and more prevalent, as a video released about a week ago documented.  I’m not going to post the video here, but this FoxNews report lays the groundwork [and has the video if you want to see it]:

A graphic video circulating online purportedly showing Iraqi soldiers in Mosul throwing Islamic State militants to their deaths and then firing at their bodies has sparked an investigation by the Iraqi government and an outcry from human rights groups.

The video posted Wednesday shows two purported militants laying on the ground after being tossed from a building, their bodies twitching as they are sprayed with bullets from the rifles of uniformed men.  […]

"In the final weeks of the battle for west Mosul, the pervasive attitude that I have observed among armed forces has been of momentum, the desire to get the battle wrapped up as quickly as possible, and a collapse of adherences to the laws of war,” Belkis Wille, a senior Iraq researcher at Human Rights Watch, told the BBC.

An article in Stripes today discusses one such Iraqi out for blood:

For one Iraqi lieutenant, the fight against the Islamic State group in Mosul has been a slow, methodical quest for revenge. For three years, he has hunted for two IS militants from his village who he believes killed his father. Along the way, he has shot to death detained militants after interrogating them, he acknowledges unapologetically.

And if he catches either of the men he is searching for, the lieutenant vows he will inflict on him "a slow death" and hang his body from a post in the village after forcing him to reveal where his father's body is buried. […]

The lieutenant said the two men who killed his father were well known in his hometown, a small village south of Mosul. He agreed to share his story with the AP because he wanted to show how personal the fight is for Iraqi troops. Two of his colleagues confirmed his version of events. The AP is not revealing the names of the men he is pursuing because there is no way to confirm independently they belonged to IS.

A senior Iraqi commander acknowledged the retributory killings and discussed them:

But a senior Iraqi officer said his troops regularly killed men who were said to be IS among civilians fleeing the city at screening centers in and around Mosul. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the possibility it could prompt legal repercussions.

"When an entire group of civilians tells us, 'This man is Daesh,' yes, we shoot him," he said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.

"When you're facing a man who has killed your friends, your family, yes, sometimes the men get rough," he added. "But for us, this is personal."

While revenge is probably the number one cause of these extra-judicial killings, The Independent from the UK suggests there is another catalyst as well:

Iraqi security forces kill Isis prisoners because they believe that if the militants are sent to prison camps they will bribe the authorities in Baghdad to release them. “That is why Iraqi soldiers prefer to shoot them or throw them off high buildings,” says one Iraqi source. A former senior Iraqi official said he could name the exact sum that it would take for an Isis member to buy papers enabling him to move freely around Iraq.

The belief by Iraqi soldiers and militiamen that their own government is too corrupt to keep captured Isis fighters in detention is one reason why the bodies of Isis suspects, shot in the head or body and with their hands tied behind their backs, are found floating in the Tigris river downstream from Mosul. Revenge and hatred provoked by Isis atrocities are motives for extrajudicial killings by death squads, but so is distrust of an Iraqi judicial system, which is notoriously corrupt and dysfunctional.

Paranoia at the end of a very violent war partially explains why so many Iraqis are convinced that dangerous Isis members can always bribe their way to freedom. Dozens of posts on social media from Baghdad allege that suicide bombers who blow themselves up killing many civilians had previously been detained by the security forces and released in return for money. “We die in Baghdad because of corruption,” reads one post, frequently shared with others. One tweet says: “Daesh [Isis] pays the government and kills us in Baghdad.”

Although not unexpected, these killings could become problematic if the excesses continue.  As Belkis Wille, the Iraq researcher at Human Rights Watch noted in the Stripes article,  if the killings continue unabated, “all you're going to see is (that) young Sunni Arab men are going to want to join whatever the next extremist group looks like.”  Although there may be some catharsis for soldiers like the unnamed lieutenant, let’s hope this doesn’t send the entire system into some sort of vicious cycle where violence begets violence which begets violence…..

Posted in the burner | 6 comments
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War is hell, and nobody knows it better than veterans. I believe in the sanctity of life, and soldiers have no business executing prisoners without due process. However, I never knew of Amnesty International protesting the beheading and/or burning to death of innocent civilians.

Don't feel sorry for them at all, because that's the same thing they would do to any prisoners . That's a sure way they won't be killing anyone else.

Take no prisoners should be the theme here for ISIS soldiers. How many thousands of men, women and children have they murdered without mercy in their quest for a Caliphate? How many Iraqi soldiers were killed by the militants after they surrendered to them. Does anyone think Iraqi revenge is not justified. Even the Americans and British in WW2 took revenge on surrendering German SS troops by lining them up to be shot. It was documented at Dachau, Germany. Gen. Eisenhower turned a blind eye to the shootings when it was reported to him. Young Sunni Arabs want to follow these Godless murderers in revenge, they will meet death by the sword too. This ideology of ISIS doesn't follow the Koran at all.

See comment above.

It's a crying shame that the Iraqi Army has to resort to this type of behavior, but you have to blame Isis and the government of Iraq, for this. Where was the outcry when ISIS was beheading people by the hundreds. Iraqi Army deserves a medal.

I remember well ISIS burning a pilot to death,beheading civilians,raping women and girls,and all kinds of other gruesome ways ISIS killed people...DEATH TO ALL ISIS FIGHTERS NO MERCY THEY ARE ANIMALS NOT SOLDIERS.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.