07/02/2021 Iraq (International Christian Concern) – Despite ISIS being driven from Mosul four years ago, the city remains has struggled to rebuild as powerful state-endorsed and Iranian-backed PMF militias control and manipulate the city’s real estate and urban development for their benefit.
News agency Asharq Al-Awsat recently interviewed Mosul residents on the ground: “Mosul has been looted. They have seized everything. Why not? They control everything, the state, laws, and even the peoples lives!” Taxi driver Mohammed al-Hamadani bitterly complained of the abuse of power exercised by PMF militias, “from real estate to properties to projects…no one has been spared, not even the state. They even occupy government positions and enjoy political representation…despite this, you must keep your mouth shut because they say that they have liberated the city from ISIS and protected it from terrorism.”
Manipulating and threatening, forgery and false claims abound with the militia’s favorite property to target being that of Christians and alleged ISIS members who can do little besides lodge a complaint that falls upon compromised bureaucrat’s ears or flee. Government buildings, schools, archeological sites are all vulnerable to these armed factions, who have begun residential building in previously protected areas. According to an anonymous real-estate registration office employee in Nineveh, “no one dares to challenge the perpetrators because they control everything. They can easily spitefully charge someone with belonging to ISIS, which will lead to judicial proceedings and even a death sentence.”
Meanwhile, thousands of IEDs remain undiscovered throughout the city and surrounding areas making life for the average Mosul resident a nightmare as one wrong step could prove fatal. The PMF continues to receive support from the government, with the Iraqi president attending a PMF parade this last week near Baghdad celebrating the anniversary of the militant group’s founding and displaying its wide array of weaponry from drones to tanks.
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