On 24 June, Bashar Assad’s army jet fighters bombed the Iraqi city of Qaem (near the Syrian border), the city of Rutba (150 km from Syrian border) and the western areas of Mosul, which had fallen out of Maliki’s forces’ control in recent days. As a result many civilians were brutally murdered in public places such as the bazaar and gas station. While during the past two years, Bashar Assad has never bombed ISIS bases in Syria and his aerial strikes have always targeted innocent civilians and opposition groups, now under the name of bombing ISIS, innocent Iraqi citizens are being slaughtered. This clearly shows how baseless the claim of fighting against terrorism and ISIS is.
Coincidently, on the days of 24 and 25 June, Iraqi forces bombed the city of Beiji in the Salahaddin Province killing at least 100 civilians and injuring many more. Most of the city’s inhabitants were forced to flee the city. The brutal death of 69 people outside the city of Hilla and the murder of 52 inmates in the Baquba Prison by government forces, are other crimes carried out by Maliki who is desperately trying to keep his post as prime minister.
According to a report by CNN, the governor of Baquba claimed that the prisoners were killed by ISIS, yet hospital personnel and other Baquba officials say that the inmates were killed by their prison guards. Al-Taqeer TV said on 20 June: “The Governor of Diyala revealed that the Vahdat Prison management in Baquba was involved in the physical annihilation of 52 inmates. He said that the only survivor of this incident has said that the inmates were fired upon by prison guards and denied that mortars had been fired on the prison. The governor said that after this testimony, the inmate was abducted from the hospital and murdered.”
ISIS is a terrorist and extremist group who has taken advantage of the current situation in Iraq to position its forces in various areas of the country. According to many accounts, the actions of this group have to this date been in favour of the Iranian regime and Bashar Assad. France’s President Francois Hollande spoke of relations between ISIS and the Assad regime on 20 June. However, falsely relating the Iraqi people’s revolt, which in the past two weeks has liberated half of Iraq’s territories with a population of 10 million people, with this terrorist group follows two purposes. First, legitimizing the killing of civilians and entrance of IRGC and the Quds Force; and second, once again bringing the US back into Iraq.
The leaders of the uprising have from June 10th to this day stipulated time and again that they have no relations with ISIS and strongly condemn it. They made it clear what is taking place in Iraq is not a Shiite or a Sunni war, but a war between the Iraqi people and Maliki and the Iranian regime. They said they don’t intend to occupy Baghdad, but they want to oust Maliki and if they are going to Baghdad it is because Maliki intends to usurp his prime ministerial office with the Quds Force so that he can continue killing Iraqi citizens.
The Association of Muslim Scholars led by Sheikh Hareth al-Zari, who plays an important role in the developments, said on June 12th: “We want to stop cruelty against all Iraqis. We recognize no difference between religions…because any kind of discrimination against religious minorities must be lifted and they must be protected… our motto is forgiveness. Criminals must be handed over to a judiciary that is not sectarian or politically motivated like Maliki’s judiciary.”
Sheikh Ali Hatam, one of the most prominent Iraqi tribal sheikhs, has issued numerous statements and conducted many interviews with Arab and Western media outlets saying, “ISIS is fabricated by Iran. Before God and the people of the world, we are completely against ISIS. Our fundamental goal is to destroy Maliki’s autocracy, and then we can fight again ISIS as we have done so before.”
The General Military Council of Revolutionaries, consisting of senior army officers, has announced, “This revolution is not an ISIS revolution. It is a tribal revolution that has risen against cruelty. This is the new Iraqi spring and it has nothing to do with terrorism. We oppose any actions against human rights, and we condemn anyone that carries out such actions. We don’t even carry out such actions against our enemies. We want an Iraq that enjoys its riches. A democratic Iraq with a government ruling over the people, chosen by the people, and that protects Iraq’s unity.”
The Iranian regime and Maliki, its puppet prime minister, are the main problems in Iraq that have led the country into destruction, civil war and sectarianism. As we had announced prior to this, setting Maliki aside, evicting the Iranian regime, forming an inclusive national reconciliation government and carrying out elections under UN supervision are the only solutions to this crisis, and this is the will of the Iraqi people.
While there is an Iraqi and international consensus that Maliki must go, on June 25th he audaciously said the national reconciliation government is a coup d’état against the constitution, going on to emphasize his right to retain the post of Prime Minister. Any solution for this matter lies in ousting Maliki. Therefore, the US, EU and UN must stop all their aid to Maliki's government and not allow him to use Western support to further prolong the war and massacres in Iraq.
STRUAN STEVENSON, MEP
President of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Iraq
President of the European Iraqi Freedom Association