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Middle Eastern civilians have more to fear than ISIS now

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Zach McAuliffe is a University of Dayton alumni with degrees in journalism and English. He wants to present people with all the facts they need to make informed decisions on the world around them. He also enjoys Shakespeare and long walks on the beach with his puppy Lily.

ISIS is currently the single largest, immediate threat to citizens in the Middle East, but people in the area now have to worry about Shia militias carrying out similar acts of brutality.

Shia militias in Iraq have reportedly abducted and killed large numbers of Sunnis in the area in retaliation against ISIS, according to an Amnesty International report released Tuesday.

This report says the Shia militias are armed and supported by the Iraqi government which is currently controlled by Shia Muslims.  However, the report does say these militiamen are not part of any official Iraqi military organization, and they operate outside any official oversight or legal framework.

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Bodies have been showing up in cities not controlled by ISIS since June, when the Iraqi military was in a state of disarray from the threat of ISIS.  The bodies have been found in Baghdad, Kirkuk, and Samarra, and all have reportedly had execution style gunshot wounds to their heads.

“Shia militias are ruthlessly targeting Sunni civilians on a sectarian basis under the guise of fighting terrorism,” said Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser Donatella Rovera, according to the Independent.  “By granting its blessing to militias who routinely commit such abhorrent abuses, the Iraqi government is sanctioning war crimes and fueling a dangerous cycle of sectarian violence that is tearing the country apart.”

While the Amnesty report has shed light on human rights violations in Iraq, but according to Al-Jazeera, Shia militia spokesmen in the country have called the report, “an attempt to downgrade our gains and accomplishments so far in the fight against ISIL by supporting the Iraqi forces.”

Naeem Al-Aboudi, the spokeman of the Shia militia group Aasab Ahl Haq, said, “We had fought and won over ISIL in Shia and Sunni areas and while doing so we had not violated any human rights.” 

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