ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (K24) – The spokesman of one of the major Sunni movements in Iraq stated on Monday that the country is not currently ruled by the Iraqi federal government, but rather “pirates,” in the center and southern provinces.
On Monday, Mohammed Taha al-Hamdun, Spokesman for the Sunni People Movement in Iraq told K24 TV that now, “Shia militias” rule Diyala Province, not the government. “Today, the government [Iraqi federal government] has no power in the country, but the Shia militias do. So basically, we are ruled by pirates.”
In an infographic displayed on Monday, Kurdistan24 revealed the number of casualties in Diyala Province from 2003 until 2016. Diyala, located in eastern Iraq, has a population of over one million—most of whom are Sunni Arabs.
Since the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime, over 27,380 people have been kidnapped, 52,320 arrested, and 115 families left the province entirely, 250 mosques have been destroyed, and 47,800 houses and 320 agricultural fields were also ruined.
The infographic also highlighted 15 mass executions in the province which reportedly killed over 2,000 people.
Al-Hamdun noted, “The Shia Coalition in Iraq rules in a completely sectarian way… eighty percent of Diyala’s population was once Sunni, but now forty percent have left due to current security issues and the stationing of Shia militia groups there.”
“Now, Sunnis in the province are under threat; they get arrested, kidnapped, and killed..because of their names. These Shia militias kill people if their names sound [sic] Sunni,” al-Hamdun continued. “Over the past thirteen years, Sunnis in Diyala are under serious threat, especially from Shia militia groups.”
Al-Hamdun also mentioned that Sunnis are the main victims of Islamic State (IS) terror while the Shia Coalition and other Shia militias supported by Iran accuse Sunnis of helping the Islamic State (IS).
Al-Hamdun reported that Shia officials and militia groups level such accusations in order to target Sunnis due to some being involved with IS as well as the former regime. “Sixty percent of the Ba'ath party was made up of Shia people. Thus, Shia shouldn’t accuse us [Sunnis] for having links with the former regime; now those Shia are part of the government,” he added.
He said that now Shia militias are changing Diyala's demography by forcing people to leave the province. “We [Sunnis] are trying to recognize those crimes on the international level.”
He also touched upon Iran’s role in Iraq, and believes they have become a major player in Iraq and freely interfere in Iraq's affairs, ‘violates’ international law.
In another part of his interview, he stated that Iraq's security decisions are currently decided by the Iranian government, rather than Iraqi Prime Minister, Haidar al-Abadi. “The best solution for Iraq today is confederalism,” al-Hamdun concluded.
Al-Hamdun praised the role of Peshmerga in protecting Diyala Province, “We have often stated that our people [Sunnis] feel completely safe and protected under the security of the Kurdish Peshmerga, but the people living under Shia militias' security face mass executions and feel terrified,” he asserted.
(Reporting by Mewan Dolamari; Editing by Benjamin Kweskin)