Men dressed in Iraqi Federal Police uniforms reportedly executed civilians in cold blood, after Iraqi Security Forces retook areas around Mosul from the Islamic State.
“Men in Federal Police uniform have carried out multiple unlawful killings, apprehending and then deliberately killing in cold blood residents in villages south of Mosul. In some cases the residents were tortured before they were shot dead execution-style,” said Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International’s Beirut Regional Office.
Amnesty’s reports could not be confirmed. The victims were seemingly military aged males in an area that was reportedly thought to have been cleared of civilians by ISIS. Pentagon Spokesman Peter Cook previously indicated fear ISIS fighters will try and blend in with the civilian population after being defeated in Mosul.
Iraqi police operated under this theory, thinking they were ISIS fighters. Amnesty International further noted:
The victims were made to lie on their stomachs and shots were fired between their legs, as they were insulted, often using sectarian language, and accused of being members of “Daesh” (the Arabic acronym for IS)….Men in Federal Police uniforms then subjected them to particularly brutal beatings before shooting them dead. Their decomposing remains were found in the same area some five days later. Rashid Ali Khalaf’s head had been severed from his body.
The alleged incident highlights the underlying tensions of a post-ISIS Iraq, as the U.S.-backed Iraqi Security Forces continue on towards Mosul. Iranian-backed Shiite militias are also participating in operations around the city of Mosul, and have been repeatedly accused of war crimes in the past.
Human Rights Watch noted possible war crimes by Shiite militias in January, 2016:
Members of Shia militias, who the Iraqi government has included among its state forces, abducted and killed scores of Sunni residents in a central Iraq town and demolished Sunni homes, stores, and mosques following January 11, 2016 bombings claimed by the extremist group Islamic State.
Retired Army Gen. David Petraeus echoed Mardini’s thinking in August, saying failure to stabilize post-ISIS Iraq could lead to the rise of another version of ISIS. “The challenge of Mosul and Nineveh is the considerable number of ethnic groups, religious sects, tribes and other elements that make up the province.”
Ultimately, Petraeus warns the biggest challenge in Iraq is not the defeat of ISIS, but is “to ensure post-conflict security, reconstruction and, above all, governance that is representative of and responsive to the people.” He warns, “Failure to do so could lead to ISIS 3.0.”
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