Brussels, European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA) press release - We are shocked at the reports of ethnic cleansing and genocide, forced migration, burning of mosques and homes of Sunnis in various regions of Iraq, especially in Diyala province, by the brutal Shiite militias affiliated with the terrorist Iranian Qods Force, sometimes assisted by Iraqi military personnel.
According to survivors, people were taken from their homes by men in uniform; heads down and linked together, then led in small groups to a field made to kneel and shot one by one. At least 72 locals including children were executed. The militias planted explosives in 1400 houses and 12 mosques in Sherwin villages and set them on fire.
Such atrocities undermine our fight against ISIS in Iraq. Pro-Iranian regime militias have vast regions of Iraq under their control and are a mirror-image of ISIS - or in the words of some Iraqi Kurdish officials are worse than ISIS - and are carrying out crimes against humanity. We repeatedly warned that Iran’s meddling in Iraq and their control of the former Iraqi government under their marionette Nouri al-Maliki, created the ideal conditions for ISIS to enter the country. Unless the Iranians are uprooted and evicted from Iraq the war against ISIS cannot be won.
Thus we demand a firm Arabic and international reaction and call for the following urgent measures:
1. We urge Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to condemn strongly these atrocities and disclose their perpetrators and to dismiss and punish the known elements of the Qods Force such as Hadi Ameri. Failure to act will lead to an escalation of these crimes and will convince the Iraqi people who had high hopes for Dr al-Abadi, that he has failed.
2. As we have declared before, the foremost and key step in resolving the crisis in Iraq is to evict the Iranian regime, the Qods Force and its so-called Shiite militias from Iraq. This cannot be achieved without the immediate involvement of the United States and the coalition. This is as important as the current policy of aerial bombing of ISIS positions. Otherwise the U.S. and the coalition will be seen as de facto allies of Iran and its atrocious militias in the eyes of the Iraqi people and the Sunnis in the region. This will deepen the present crisis.
3. As it condemns crimes by ISIS, the UN Security Council equally needs strongly to condemn the crimes of the Iranian regime and its militias in Iraq and Syria. These crimes should be referred to the International Criminal Court. The atrocities committed by these forces in recent months in Diyala, Baghdad, Salah ad-Din, Babel,…are no less worthy of condemnation than those committed by ISIS.
President of the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA)
Struan Stevenson was a Member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2014 and was President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq from 2009 to 2014.
Reuters reported on January 28:
"Survivors tell the same story: they were taken from their homes by men in uniform; heads down and linked together then led in small groups to a field made to kneel and selected to be shot one by one.
“Accounts by five witnesses interviewed separately by Reuters provide a picture of alleged executions in the eastern village of Barwanah on Monday which residents and provincial officials say left at least 72 unarmed Iraqis dead.
“The witnesses identified the killers as a collection of Shi’ite militias and security force elements….
“Since September hundreds of civilians have fled to Barwanah's relative safety from fighting in Sinsil about 5 km (3 miles) to the southwest and other nearby villages.
“For about two hours they were forced to kneel and stare at the ground as the fighters selected their targets and led them to a spot behind a mud wall.”
Speaker of the Parliament Dr. Salim Abdullah al-Jabouri declared on January 28 that these forces “in the Sherwin area resorted to be destroying the mosques and setting fire to many homes in front of the security forces… next day, they carried out even more heinous acts in the Barwanah villages by slaughtering innocent citizens…”
Ms. Nahedeh al-Daini, the representative of Diyala Province in the parliament told al-Jazeera TV on January 26: “In recent days, the militias affiliated with the terrorist Qods Force resorted to a new massacre in the Meqdadiya region of Diyala Province and brutally killed at least 70 locals, including children in this province and set fire to hundreds of homes. Ms. Nahedeh al-Daini stated that these atrocities were carried out with support from the security forces with the objective to change the texture of the population in this mostly Sunni province.”
On January 25, Asharqiya TV reported: “A police officer in Mansouriya, Diyala said that the militias planted explosives in 1400 houses and 12 mosques in Sherwin villages and set them on fire. Police sources state that most of these bombings and explosions are being carried out by non-Iraqi elements.”
Al-Taghier TV quoted Haqi Ismail, member of Diyala Province Council, on January 20, stating that 90% of the residents of villages north of Meqdadiya in Diyala have been driven from their homes.
Al-Gharbiah TV reported on January 13 that the Diyala Tribal Council warned in a statement that the militias continue to spill the blood of the innocent and to set fire on the homes of locals forcing them to migrate. In their statement, this council called on the prime minister to urgently interfere and stop these crimes. It further stressed that hundreds of IRGC forces and commanders are present in Diyala and resort to atrocities that shame mankind.