The Battle for Iraq: Shia Militias vs. the Islamic State

The Battle for Iraq: Shia Militias vs. the Islamic State

The Militias are kind of taking over. It’s not really the government leading militias, it’s the other way around This is literally the very front line in the global fight against the islamic state year one from the beginning of Iraq’s war with the islamic state vice news traveled to Iraq to meet the shia Militias fighting on the front lines to defend their country Saeed Hamed Al Yasiri, ledear of Ansar Al Maja’iah a relatively new Militia from Southern Iraq agreed to take us to the frontlines in Anbar Province an islamic State stronghold just West of Baghdad following the Collapse the Iraqi Army after the capture of mosul the islamic State Advance swiftly south Taking a third of the country before forcing Iraq’s, Shia Militias to step in and halt the push on Baghdad we arrived in the countryside outside of the town of Amiriyah al Fallujah that been seized from the islamic State by the Maja’iah in the last six months Fighting is however still constant in areas like this are a key obstacle to the iSlamic States March on Baghdad So this is the amorite bridge that runs over the river Euphrates the bridge used to run to Amiriyah al Fallujah further down the road, but when isis were pushed out of this position They packed it full of C-4 explosives and blew the bridge to slow down the Maja’iah fighters this area around here is all sunni Which you’d expect there would be problems between the sunnis and the shia volunteers But actually the shia volunteers here fight alongside some of the sunni tribes here to stop isis attacks in the area yes, you’re from a sunni Tribe. Have the government been helping you with weapons and finance to help you guys defend this area? Yasiri heard that the islamic state were advancing on one of the Maja’iah positions and that a firefight had broken out So we made our way there to see the close quarters fighting for ourselves So according to the the fighters here isis are only a couple of hundred meters away and this position here comes under attack every day Isis try and move through the palm groves to attack the trenches and the buildings here, but also attack them with mortars you can hear them replying, they’re firing back towards this farmhouse Maja’iah fighters sing their imam (inaudible), the main figures in the shia religion. I guess it’s a way to essentially troll isis the fighting isis are only 100 meters away these guys are also using a heavy machine gun DShKs and rPGs against isis positions This is literally the very front line in the global fight against the islamic state it’s pretty funny, but this is what these guys do day in day out here fighting against the islamic state And they’re getting very little support from the outside world and even their own government Back at the base the fighters were jubilant to return without any casualties the Maja’iah is just one of many militias fending off the threat of the islamic state in Iraq following the capture of mosul by the islamic state Ali al Sistani the most important, Shia cleric in Iraq called on all able-bodied. Iraqis to help defend the country in The following weeks tens of thousands of men joined a number of different Militias some backed by Iran and some with a history of sectarian abuses we traveled south to karbala home of two of the most sacred Shrines in Shia Islam to see what many of the militias are fighting to protect So this is the al-Imam Al-Ḥusayn which is the compound in Karbala that contains the two shrines to Imam Abbas an Imam husain there were two Brothers and grandsons of the prophet Muhammad who were martyred in the seventh century in the battle of karbala Making Karbala the most holiest of cities for Shia Muslims which also makes it a prime target for isis fighters Currently, it’s Muharram. Which is sort of a holy time commemorating the death of the two brothers And there’s millions of pilgrims come here during this period You’ve got lots of people here even sleeping overnight at the shrines Lots of Iranians come by bus over the border through Iraq It’s a massive complex. thousands of people come here and pray [everyday], but despite the massive threat That isis posed people don’t seem to be put off at all If the islamic state were able to attack Karbala and reignite the Sunni-shia conflict The state of Iraq itself could be a jeopardy With the breakup of Iraq into smaller Sectarian states a genuine [possibility] which makes the shia Militias role in protecting the Shrines and roots of the Pilgrims appear all the More vital we traveled to the west of Samara home to another important Shia Shrine where haricot new Jabbar and Militia comprised of veterans of the sheer insurgency against the United states were involved in heavy clashes with the islamic state the day before It’s got to be one of the more dangerous roads I’ve ever traveled on there’s hardly any traffic and the roadside is littered with [Burnt-out] and destroyed vehicles We’re having to travel very fast in between the checkpoints because [the] road is constantly targeted by Mortar and Sniper fire So this is a new jabbar position They control the west side of Samara along the highway towards tikrit on the road. We came up here You can see a lot of craters in the road the fighters were saying they were remnants of ieds that isis left behind do you find it weird then that you’re Essentially fighting on the same side of the Americans now though the fighters here saying that yesterday One of the isis pickup trucks with the heavy machine gun mounted on top was using this area as a firing position To hit their troops further down the road the fighters also say that they use the dshka heavy machine guns which can also hit aircraft and helicopters to Target the Iraqi Army helicopters that patrol the road covering the pilgrims moving to Samara, and they’re moving from Samara down to karbala So the new Jabar fighters are saying at this little farmhouse here was where isis were camping out over the past few days Using it to launch attacks on their positions further east They say that when the new Jabbar fought back they retreated inside the farmhouse and you can see bullets Smashed up the walls here the [mash] to hit a couple of isis guys some body armor here covered in blood This is where the isis sniper was taking position, and they’re saying they managed to get him and killed him Just by islamic state enforcing a no smoking ban across their so-called caliphate lots of a cigarette butts around here So a couple of shots just got fired. I’m not sure whether it was the isis fighters certainly pretty close The fins of Mortor Ancestor gotten around Because the fighters here fear that isis have got snipers watching this position We had to essentially sprint from the last farmhouse to this one whilst they provided covering fire They’re now basically prepping on water There’s a guy in the roof in the farmhouse behind him Checking to see whether mortar landed and then telling him to adjust the distance to make sure they hit the Target you can actually see the smoke from that one It’s very close With what appears to be direct hits on the islamic state positions. We begin to move back towards the new Jabbar HQ? The new [Jabbar] fighters are saying this is where Isis treated their wounded in the battle over the past couple of days So they’ve now obviously since fled and the new Jabbar have destroyed half the building that we can’t see That much evidence of any sort of medical equipment being used or bandages or anything like that This was clearly someone’s home at some point now. It’s been destroyed [it’d] be a long time before the civilians in this area will be able to return with many thousands of Iraqi Civilians displaced by the fighting We traveled to baghdad to see the fallout from the Militias war against the islamic state We’ve come here to west Baghdad to meet some sunni families from Ambar who Fed a combination of isis attacks, Shia Militia abuses and Indiscriminate Barrel bombings by the Iraqi army a lot of these families come here to this mosque to receive food and medical aid Donated privately because the government basically isn’t helping them enough What do you think of the shia Militias involvement in the war against the islamic state well ahem? Do you think these attacks by the government the indiscriminate bombing and the abuses carried out by the shia Militias? Do you think that will drive some people to join isis and fight for them? Despite the successes the militias have had in combat in the islamic state various reports and surfaced documenting abuses carried out by the Militias Who largely remain outside of the government’s control We met with someone from human rights watch who wished to remain anonymous for fear of their safety and returning to Iraq you have mothers who are on the front lines and the kinds of abuses that we’ve been seeing there by the Militias once they hear an area of isis they then go back you know to the villages that they’ve cleared and Any civilians that are left there they expel from the Villages We’ve documented widespread burning and destruction of homes that’s something that we’ve recorded in Literally every single place where militias are leading the fight against isis in some instances. We have Documented them carrying out summary executions of people afterwards There’s definitely different spheres of control that each militia has, but the one that we documented the most most abuses by are definitely batterer organization Which now the [hat] is better organization [had] the army used to be iraq [transport] [minister] he’s an extremely powerful figure and He’s essentially acting with total impunity now. It’s not really the government leading Militias. It’s the other way around We’re on our way to Diallo province to meet [hardy] a marine a figure who possibly Epitomizes the controversial nature of the shia, militias involvement in the war against the islamic state [Amory’s] a former anti Saddam Guerrilla fighter [whose] have been accused of running death squads during the sectarian Civil conflict eight years ago But now heads up the [batterer] organization a political party with its own, Militia That’s considered to be one of the strongest and most powerful in the country the batterer Organization has been responsible for a string of successes against the islamic state But also have been accused of a [number] of abuses against sunni communities in areas they control With Amory given overall control of the military operation in Diyala We met up with him as his forces alongside the Iraqi Army were constructing a road through the province to relieve besieged, Militias further north we’ve seen pictures of Custom [Suleimani] visiting you and your forces around emily is Iran continuing to help you in this fight against isis here a lot of people fear the presence of some of the shia volunteer units in sunni areas and there have been Abuses recorded by some of your forces and others, how do you explain those? Abuses, and how do you make sure that they’re not going to happen again? It’s quite stunning that Iraq finds itself in the situation that occur indeed but despite the billions of dollars spent on the Iraqi Army the government has had to rely on a number of different Militias and volunteer groups some of whom have already committed a number of abuses to help defend the country Baghdad may be relatively safe But millions of Iraqis is still at the Mercy of the islamic state With the war progressing slowly and the Militias only growing in power there is a good chance that they could become a threat to Iraq’s Fragile Sectarian and political balance This war is not one that i’m gonna push through. It’s going to continue to spread it’s going to continue to become more polarized more sectarian There’s a good chance that we’ll see a break in iraq

100 thoughts on “The Battle for Iraq: Shia Militias vs. the Islamic State

  1. once ISIS is dead im sure the shia militia might become the next terrorist group
    every terrorist group once started as a militia of some sort

  2. They aren't like westerners they have been in war for decades and decades they have a different mind set. In the US we are taught not to kill but we are also not in war like them so in some ways the abuse they use towards IS is rightfully so. They have had there family's and friends murdered sometimes in front of them so a lot of them have a vendetta

  3. The people and military of Iraq believe that Iran saved them from ISIL, the USA just made it a bigger problem for the citizens when the first invasion happened in 1990. USA should have never been involved in the first place. US never learns from its own passed and Karma is catching up in different forms on the US.

  4. Thanks for Iraqi Shia Muslim to saving virginity rest of Sunni girls from the ISIS in Iraq….

  5. ذوله لواء انصار المرجعيه من محافظة المثنى وقائدهم السيد حميد الياسري

  6. Lingering and the days are witnessing.

    The truth is what the stupid media portrays.

    Greetings to the black Islamic State of Saudi Arabia.

    Soon we will cut off oil from the world.

  7. There's a mistake with the subtitles. When these Iraqi fighters mention the terror group, the so-called ISIS, they use the word داعش (Daesh), because technically, the terrorists are not Islamic at all. But the ignorant westerners still mistranslated Daesh into Islamic State. Just call it Daesh, the Takfiris get really pissed by this word

  8. This got me confused. I thought Iraq was the bad ones but i read again and again then i knew Islamic State is ISIS (if you ask me ISIS doesn't deserve to be called Islamic State lol)

  9. Sunnis are the most hypocrite asshole type selfish clan. They are the one who whole heatedly supported ISIS when it was mass murdering shias,non Muslims,yezidis,Kurds etc.

  10. See the records Iraq and Syria wherever Isis has faced Shias they lost.even superpower America could not wipe out Isis

  11. This level of hatred violence, the sectarian nonsense and knowing there's no end to this senseless conflict, makes me appreciate more my crime infested neighborhood. Gangs and "sicarios" included.

  12. When ur asking why they both are fighting each other even though they're islamic:

    Should Iraq just give up and give their country to them or what

  13. "i dont see any bandages or other signs…." wtf? You expect them to leave the lacerate behind? They are gonna need it again.

  14. very nice shia brothers these people are real muslims who.actually know how to make world a better place not a god damn isisi

    Love from India 🙏🙏🙏

  15. Good to see 2 muslim bloodline work together for safety of its people this is awesome i love you guys
    From a Christian friend

  16. കുരുവംശത്തിനു ഇവിടെ വന്നു കവർ ചെയ്തുകൂടെ

  17. REMEMBER.!!
    SHITE (SHIA) isn't moslem. and Isis (Daesh) isn't moslem too..
    1:1 . I love Sunni Al Hussunah Wal Jamaah. Dear me from Indonesian moslem.

  18. Where is the Islamic state?
    That is emperyalists propaganda.
    Repeating thousands times so called" Islamic state" does not justifies bloodshed.
    Imperial powers trying to create war between muslims.Thats all about wars in the MIDDLE EAST.

  19. الرجل السني اذي يتهم الحشد الشعبي بالاغتصاب والقتل والذبح هذه اخلاق الدواعش الي هم سنة مع الاسف مو اخلاق ااحشد الشعبي نكران الجميل بعينه يخلصونكم من الدواعش وجاي تشتكي وتكذب تبا لك ولامثالك من الوهابيين الدواعش هذا اذا ما كنت واحد منهم

  20. I can not understand why people will so passionately care on who was supposed to be the leader of the Muslim world 1400 years ago.

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