ICC Note: Iran has effectively taken over the South and much of the middle of the country. The US Army is about to move against the militias since Al Qaeda has largely been neutralized. Unfortunately, it is all a day late and a dollar short for the Christians of Iraq.
(Iraqi) Tribal leaders warn Islamism on rise
Iraq/Iran (TVNews) Shi’ite Islamist political parties are imposing strict Islamic rules in the oil-producing southern provinces of Iraq and using their armed wings to create a state of fear, a group of tribal Shi’ite leaders said.
The four tribal leaders approached on condition of anonymity, fearing assassination if their names or even their home provinces were made public.
“Fear rules the streets now,” said one of the sheikhs. “We cannot speak our minds, people are not allowed to oppose them. They would immediately disappear or get killed. The evidence of that is I am talking about it but cannot use my name.”
“The people of the south are religious, we are believers, but at the same time we like to live our lives and we like freedom,” said one sheikh.
“Some say the Shi’ites are lucky because they are now ruling Iraq, but that is wrong. It is the Islamist Shi’ites who are ruling Iraq. Their victory was a curse for us,” said one sheikh.
The sheikhs blamed Washington for giving Shi’ite Islamists a free hand in the south.
US forces are concentrated to the north, focused mainly on Sunni Islamist al Qaeda and other Sunni Arab militants and so-called rogue Mehdi Army groups.
“We are suffering from two occupations – America and Iran. We have told American officials this and we have met some of them, but they are not listening to us,” one sheikh complained.
Some tribes were talking about taking up arms against the Islamist parties, but the tribal leaders said they feared this would unleash a bloodbath that would destabilise the south.
“The tribes do not want violence…but at the same time we want to see a change that preserves the rights of all Iraqis, so that we are really free,” said one sheikh.