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Iraq Should 'Disband Abusive Militias' to Receive US Aid - HRW

© AP Photo / Khalid MohammedMember of the Iraqi security forces running to plant the national flag as they surround Tikrit during clashes to regain the city from Islamic State militants.
Member of the Iraqi security forces running to plant the national flag as they surround Tikrit during clashes to regain the city from Islamic State militants. - Sputnik International
Human Rights Watch urges Obama to link providing security assistance to Iraq to the country's progress in reining in pro-government militias that have committed serious civilian abuses in areas retaken from the Islamic State.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States should link providing security assistance to Iraq to the country's progress in reining in pro-government militias that have committed serious civilian abuses in areas retaken from the Islamic State (ISIL), Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a letter addressed to US President Barack Obama.

“Obama should make clear that security aid to the Iraqi security forces hinges on the government taking steps to disband abusive militias; improve protection of civilians in areas where militias are deployed; and hold accountable commanders responsible for serious crimes through a fair criminal justice process,” the Mondays’ letter read.

Sectarian militias have increased their influence on the battlefield as well as in Iraq’s government since the ISIL captured Mosul in June 2014, according to the HRW.

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“The [Iraqi] militias have routinely carried out abductions; summary executions, including beheadings; torture; and forcible displacements of thousands of families in areas recaptured from ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria],” HRW said in the letter.

The advocacy group urged Obama to place the issue of militia’s abuses on top of his meeting agenda with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi that scheduled in Washington, DC on Tuesday.

Al-Abadi will seek US help in obtaining arms, including Apache attack helicopters and ammunition, according to media reports.

HRW also stressed that the administration should ensure the US embassy in

Baghdad has sufficient personnel and resources to closely monitor how US arms are being used.

The visit comes as the United States and the coalition of over 60 nations are carrying out airstrikes against the ISIL in Iraq and Syria, while the two countries’ government forces, allied with Kurdish forces, fight the ISIL on the ground.

Obama and al-Abadi will discuss US support to Iraq intended to degrade and destroy the ISIL as well as how Iraq’s government can strengthen cooperation with the Iraqi communities and people, according to the statement. The two leaders will also discuss how Washington and Bagdad can expand political, commercial and cultural relations.

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