An Iraqi official from the United Nations responded vigorously on Friday to allegations of human rights abuses by Iraqi forces fighting against Islamic State fighters in Mosul. Mohammed Marzooq told reporters: “This is war.”
Marzooq is the Iraqi Charge d’affaires for Iraq’s Mission to the U.N. He briefed reporters about the routing of ISIS from Mosul. He was backed by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi who arrived in Mosul this week and praised the Iraqi troops for freeing the key northern city from the terrorist organization. Marzooq described the atrocities that ISIS committed in Mosul, including what he termed a “vast number of sexual abuses and rapes” against Shi’ite Muslims and Yazidi women, many of whom were later sold as sex slaves.
Marzooq also noted that the jihadists recruited children as young as twelve to join their fighting force and then made them join in “sick and disgusting activities including beheadings, laying of roadside bombs, and filming military activities for propaganda purposes.” He said that the goal of ISIS was to turn Mosul into a huge training center and a recruitment tool for the Islamic terror group. Marzooq declared that Iraq was grateful for the “tremendous role” their allies in the U.S. led coalition provided, especially through airstrikes and air cover for Iraqi ground forces.
Marzooq was asked about videos that seem to show Iraqi soldiers beating Islamic State terrorists and throwing them off of cliffs. Human Rights Watch has expressed concern about the treatment of ISIS fighters and has reported on collective punishment of the families of ISIS fighters. Amnesty International has also accused the U.S. led coalition and the Iraqi government of not doing enough to protect civilians.
Marzooq responded to the criticism by saying they were aware of the reports and were investigating them but warned that violence is unavoidable and is part of war.
“This is the war, and you have priorities,” he said. “Our priority is to protect civilians as much as we can, but as you know this is the war, sometimes they make casualties, they make martyrs, but this is the war.” He also noted that a common tactic of ISIS is to use civilians as human shields.
British Major General Rupert Jones, the deputy commander of the coalition against ISIS, called the Amnesty International report “deeply irresponsible and frankly naive.”
“It is riddled with assertion. At no stage did they have the courtesy to engage the coalition to ask what our targeting process is,” he said. “It strikes me as being written by people who simply have no understanding of the brutality of warfare.” The Iraqi prime minister agreed with this sentiment, “Human rights organizations should recheck their sources, and should come and see how jubilant are civilians as they welcome Iraqi troops,” he said Wednesday.
However, there has been no response to the recent viral video that shows Iraqi soldiers throwing detained ISIS soldiers off a cliff and shooting them. These videos are extremely graphic, and user discretion is advised. Please remember these are not US soldiers nor were any US soldiers involved, they are Iraqi troops.
For those wondering why we post the videos here’s why:
Even though “war is war” we must remain accountable. Despite a few bad apples that were prosecuted our military is infamous for how well we treat the enemy when they are in our custody. If atrocities are committing by the enemy or friendly forces, we as a society must confront them to make sure they are isolated incidents. Is it gruesome yes, however, it must be confronted.
What do you think about the response to Human Rights allegations from Iraqi and the coalition leaders?