Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Iraqi Officials Criticize PM Abadi for Downplaying Fallujah PMF Violence | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iraqi security forces gather near Falluja, Iraq, May 31, 2016. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

Fallujah- Anbar officials and members of the Anbar Salvation Council considered that the recent statements made by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on the Fallujah liberation operation have downplayed local and international reports on violations against civilians by Popular Mobilization Forces militias.

During the advance on freeing Fallujah from ISIS hold, territories were left overrun by PMF militants who partook in the offensive against the terrorist group. However, reports show that the chiefly-Shi’ite composed militant group had staged bigoted desecrations against Fallujah citizens, primarily Sunnis, on multiple occasions.

The situation is feared to spiral out of control, waking up sectarian strife in the already troubled country of Iraq. Many warnings were directed against the PMF, a paramilitary armed group, to partake in any of the national operations against ISIS, in fears of the group after proving to be highly biased to assault Sunni civilians, especially in the case of Fallujah.

Fears were later realized, as international and local reports poured in on PMF militants looting, kidnapping and torturing Fallujah citizens, who were left unattended by national forces who continued to comb the territory further leaving civilians’ fate in PMF militant hands.

Meeting with security and military officials, PM Abadi was believed to cover up his authoritative shortcoming in protecting Fallujah citizens by talking down reports of crimes and assaults acted by PMF militants.

Abadi claimed that outlets and critics bringing up the violations are considered “enemies” as they have already kept silent to ISIS violations in Fallujah over the last two years- a fallible excuse used to counteract the surfacing criticisms against PMF brutality.

Anbar Salvation Council member Rajeh Barakat told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Abadi failed to implement needed strict measures to inhibit crimes witnessed by Fallujah post its liberation.

Scores of Fallujah residents were killed, hundreds kidnapped and mosques and homes were raided and burnt to the ground, Barakat added on PMF violence.

Barakat held all government authorities, chiefly Abadi, responsible for the inadequate response and deliberate covering for PMF crimes.

Arguing the government’s deficiency, Barakat, based on international humanitarian law, called on the U.N. to interfere immediately as to deliver justice and end all violations suffered by Fallujah citizens.