MESOP NEWS “SO CALLED LIBERATORS!” – German Magazine Der Spiegel Describes Iraqi Forces As “Monsters”

Shoguna B. Sobir 25 May 2017 – ERBIL — Iraqi forces “are monsters not heroes,” as in the fight against Islamic State (IS) militants they have tortured and raped civilians and those merely suspected to be affiliated with the IS without actual proof. This was done with US awareness of the occurring events, according to a report in a German magazine Der Spiegel by a photojournalist who was embedded with the Iraqi forces since the operation to recapture Mosul commenced in October of 2016.

The aim of his work was to bring attention to the efforts of the Iraqi forces in the operation to oust IS militants from Mosul and its surrounding areas, said Ali Arkady. However, soon he was witness to “war crimes,”- executions, hangings from the ceiling with arms bent behind, stabbings behind the ear during interrogations and assault and rape of the detainees and their families by Iraqi Interior Ministry’s Emergency Response Division (ERD).

Those who were merely  suspected of IS affiliation without concrete proof of their guilt were killed regularly, said Arkady. During his time following the Iraqi forces, he saw a man tortured in front of his 16-year-old son, thereafter targeting the teenager and killing him.  “I was there shooting [a video], and they did not try to prevent me. The soldiers have beaten the youngster in front of his father and then killed him,” he said, as quoted by the Middle East Monitor.

“Eventually, I deduced that these soldiers did not think like journalists, and that such aggressions were taken for granted as an ordinary routine of their job,” he added.In another instance, two members of ERD, who he had become close to, told him of two brothers, Laith and Ahmed, who were arrested and then released for lack of evidence and thereafter rearrested, tortured and killed.

“They first began beating the two, first by beating and then they put a knife behind Ahmed’s ear. It was a technique they learned from American soldiers… In the morning one of the soldiers told me that both brothers had been tortured to death and showed me a video of their bodies. He even sent it to me via WhatsApp and told me what happened with him,” Arkady noted.

“American forces were aware of everything,” Arkady explained, while mentioning an instance of rape by an officer. “the American supervisor asked them via the radio [following the detention]: What have you done? Captain Omar Nizar answered: ‘Everything, we have arrested men and women and looted homes.’ The American supervisor replied: ‘Well, you know what to do’.”Arkady eventually stopped following the ERD and nearing the publication of the report fled across Iraqi’s border with his family.

Iraqi Interior Ministry has opened an investigation into Arkady’s claims saying that legal measures will be taken against those found guilty. “The interior minister ordered investigators to conduct a clear and fair inquiry… (and) to take legal measures against those who are negligent if the investigation proves so,” the Interior Ministry said on Wednesday.