Iraqi Shiite militias growing

Updated 11 February 2014

Iraqi Shiite militias growing

BAGHDAD: Scores of bodies have been dumped in Iraq’s canals and palm groves in recent months, reminding terrified residents of the worst days of the country’s sectarian conflict and fueling fears that the stage is being set for another civil war.
In the latest sign of the escalating attacks, the heads of three Sunnis were found Sunday in a market in northern Salaheddin province, while six Shiites were shot dead in the province after being questioned about their religious affiliation, officials said.
The carnage has raised concerns that the Shiite militias that stalked members of the minority Sunni population in the dark days of 2006 and 2007 could be remobilizing, in response to attacks by Sunni extremists.
Members of Asaib Ahl Al-Haq, an Iranian-backed Shiite group responsible for thousands of attacks on US forces during the Iraq war, admit they have ramped up targeted killings in response to a cascade of bomb attacks on their neighborhoods.
“We’ve had to be much more active,” said an Asaib Ahl Al-Haq commander who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Sajad. “Those who are trying to incite sectarianism, we have to deal with them,” he said, drawing his hand over his throat like a knife.
“There is no place for Asaib Ahl Al-Haq militants within the security forces or armed forces,” government spokesman Ali Al-Moussawi said. Any accounts that militias are connected to the security forces are “fabrications,” he said.
However, Michael Knights, an analyst with the Washington Institute, said it was obvious that Shiite militias played a role in the security forces.
“They can bring a very sectarian approach to security, but within the cover of the security forces, which is more worrying than militias that operate openly and illegally,” he said.


Marine monitor reports departure of Iran tanker after Gibraltar rejects US demand

Updated 4 min 28 sec ago

Marine monitor reports departure of Iran tanker after Gibraltar rejects US demand

  • Gibraltar authorities have not confirmed the tanker's departure
GIBRALTAR: The Iranian oil tanker at the center of a diplomatic dispute departed from Gibraltar late Sunday after the British overseas territory rejected a US demand to seize the vessel.
According to the monitoring website Marine Traffic, the supertanker which had been detained since July 4 off the coast of Gibraltar lifted anchor Sunday evening and started sailing south.
Authorities in Gibraltar have not confirmed its departure.