Iran-Backed Shiite Militias In Iraq Contradict U.S. About Their Role In
Battle For Tikrit
State-held Tikrit are only meant to enable and back up Iraqi forces, and that
all Iran-supported Shiite militias have withdrawn from the forefront of the
battle as a precondition for U.S. intervention.
But Shiite paramilitary forces here in Iraq say otherwise, with some
insisting they will continue to fight in the battle despite their objections to
U.S. intervention. Meanwhile, others are threatening to attack U.S. forces, and
several say they're boycotting the fight just until the U.S. airstrikes stop.
The United States and its allies began striking Tikrit late
Wednesday night at the request of the Iraqi government, targeting major ISIS
infrastructure and command centers in the city. Iraqi warplanes are also
bombing the extremist group, which has violently seized large swaths of Iraq and Syria.
Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command, told Congress
Thursday that Shiite militias, armed and advised by Iranian military officers,
were not a part of the fight to reclaim the besieged city of Tikrit, about 120
miles north of Baghdad.
But on Thursday afternoon, after U.S. airstrikes had pounded ISIS-held
positions the night before, Shiite paramilitary forces held many of the towns,
roads and military positions leading from Baghdad to Tikrit, with Shiite
fighters still inside the city.
The Department of Defense did not immediately respond to a WorldPost request
Destruction from clashes between the Islamic
State and Shiite militias outside of Tikrit on March 26.
Sheikh Akram al-Kaabi, leader of major Shiite militia Harakat al-Nujaba,
accused the United States of attempting to steal the victory from Iraqi
fighters, despite the offensive slowing in recent weeks, and issued an alarming
“They made a deal with the Iraqi government without asking the popular
mobilization leadership [volunteer Shiite fighters] or ground commanders,” he
said, according to his official media department. “So, we say to them that our
forces are staying and ready to target American forces. And we will eliminate
them and their creation of ISIS on the ground in Tikrit.”
There are roughly 3,000 U.S. troops and advisers in Iraq, some of whom are
tasked with training Iraqi forces to fight ISIS. They are mostly on heavily
secured bases, not on the battlefield.
Shiite militia fighters, both paid and volunteer, have dominated the fight
for Tikrit. They number an estimated 30,000, said to be up to five times as
much as Iraqi forces. While many Iraqis have hailed them as heroes, risking
their lives to defend their country when the Iraqi military nearly crumbled,
some militias have been accused of human rights violations and using
scorched-earth tactics in Sunni towns.
In a Thursday interview in Samarra, Hadi al-Amiri, the leader of Iraq’s most
powerful Shiite militia, the Badr Organization, dismissed any talk that his
forces had been asked to withdraw. But later in the day, he said his group was
determining whether they would stay in the fight.
“If the Iraqi forces didn’t need us, we wouldn’t be involved,” he told The
WorldPost, adding that the U.S. airstrikes were not necessary because his
forces could get the job done on their own. “Seriously, there’s no need for
this international alliance.”
While he insisted he has had no direct communication with the Americans, he
said he goes through Iraqi forces when he wants to relay or receive information
from the U.S.
While Amiri makes obvious his disapproval of the Iraqi government’s request
for U.S. air support, he said he has to respect the decision, and admits the
strikes could help the cause.
A young member of the Iran-backed Shiite
militia known as the Badr Organization looks up at a drone in the sky over
Tikrit on March 26.
But several miles from the frontlines with ISIS in Tikrit, one young fighter
with the Badr Organization, who did not give his name, expressed surprising
support for the U.S. strikes. Outside of a burned-out shop in Tikrit, away from
his superiors, he recalled hearing the booms of U.S. airstrikes last night when
he says he was inside of the city.
“I was very happy,” he said. “I felt more secure.” He looked up toward the
sky at a drone overhead, and said he didn't know whether it was a U.S. or
Shiite militia surveillance drone.
Some Shiite militias say they are entirely boycotting the fight, which could
be part of the deal the U.S. struck to sign off on airstrikes without directly
coordinating with Iran-backed forces. If more Shiite militias join the boycott,
especially the Badr Organization, it could remove tens of thousands of fighters
from the battle for Tikrit.
Chinese cartridge casings on the ground
in Tikrit on March 26 that a member of the Badr Organization, a Shiite militia,
said were from a recent clash with ISIS.
Naeem al-Ubody, a spokesman for the notorious Shiite militia Asa'ib Ahl
al-Haq, told The WorldPost on Thursday that the fighting force is now
boycotting the battle for Tikrit because they don’t trust the U.S.-led
coalition. The group is known for its attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces during
the Iraq War.
“We will resume participation in the battle once the U.S. stops bombing
because we are capable without them,” he said by phone.
Shiite militias Kata'ib Hezbollah and Saraya al-Salam (Peace Brigades) also
confirmed on Thursday that they were also removing themselves from the battle
But on Thursday, there was little indication that Shiite militias were no
longer dominating the battle for Tikrit, apart from a few convoys of Iraqi
special forces headed toward the city.
Conspiracy theories abound in Iraq that the United States created or supports
the Islamic State group. Just a short drive from Tikrit’s frontline, amid a
slew of spray-painted phrases by different militias, four words stand out:
“USA, Israel, Daesh [ISIS] = terrorism.
ISIS an enemy of the US Israel prepared a robot to be a
problem for US otherwise why wouldn't it attack Israel the only enemy of the
Muslim community and kill the Zionists those who tuned the robot and equipped
it with the most sophisticated weapons and transportation, making it to fight
only the Muslim of the Muslim countries.
against IRAN AND THE TIME SEEM TO HAVE COME AND ALREADY IN ACTION SAVING Israel
TO DO THE JOB BY MUSLIM COUNTRIES which they are doing .
ISRAEL THEN THE ISSUE WOULD HAVE BEEN OTHERWISE BUT JUST ARRESTING SOME
INNOCENT PEOPLE AS ISIS TRYING TO ATTACK Israel IS ALL NONSENSE.
OVERTLY SEEN DESERVE PHYSICAL PROVE when UN RECOGNITION OF PALESTINIAN AND US
NOT MEDDLING AND BEING ABSENTING OR NOT VOTING AGAINST THE PROPOSAL.
BECAUSE ISIS CONSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL MUSLIM SUNNIS the natural programming
should have been attacking Israel. Lot of lacuna in programing the ISIS which
is obviously not consistence with their programmed plan in ISIS. US said the
obvious facts that their activities are misunderstood..