Badr Organization militias must be expelled from Diyala Province
On the day of Eid al-Fitr, a major explosion at a market in the city of Khan Bani Sa'ad in Iraq’s Diyala province of Iraq, once again left hundreds of innocent people, mostly women and children dead. We condemn this barbaric act of blind terrorism in the strongest possible terms.
Following this callous crime, the pro-Iran militias, headed by the head of the Badr Organization, Hadi Ameri, who is a well-known member of Iran’s Qods Force in Iraq, started mass killings and abduction of people all over Diyala Province; two Sunni villages were attacked by mortars by the Shi’ite militias leaving scores of innocent civilians dead and wounded. At the same time dozens of Sunni civilians in Diyala Province have been kidnapped or killed by the militias. These militias in the town of Muqdadiya burnt three young Sunnis alive. According to reports, waves of Sunni people are fleeing Khan Bani Sa’ad after the militias targeted several villages around the city with Katyusha rockets killing and wounding dozens of innocent people.
These criminal terrorist acts started after protests by citizens and local authorities at the appointment of Muthanna al-Tamimi, who is a member of the terrorist Badr organisation, as the governor of Diyala. Muthanna al-Tamimi in an interview with Iraqi Sumaria News yesterday admitted that Hadi Ameri is involved in these terrorist operations and is in charge of all the military and security apparatus of the province. This reveals clearly what is behind the recent killings. Hadi al-Ameri has repeatedly and publicly expressed his full obedience to the Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei.
The direct result of handing control of Diyala Province, with its majority Sunni population, to pro-Iranian Shi’ite militias, has been mayhem and it is innocent Sunni and Shi’ite civilians who have paid the price. The government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi should immediately remove control of Diyala province from al-Ameri and his associated Shi’ite militias and hand it to the official military forces under the control of the government. Failure to do so will cause a further escalation of the sectarian war, which is clearly being fomented and encouraged by Tehran.
The catastrophic situation in Diyala Province proves once again that the solution to restoring peace and stability in Iraq can only begin by the total eviction of Iran and its militias from the country.
Struan Stevenson was a Conservative MEP representing Scotland in the European Parliament from 1999 until his retirement in 2014. He was President of the Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq from 2009 to 2014. He is now President of the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA).