Iraq adopts law legalising Shi'ite militias

2016-11-26 19:49
(Khalid Mohammed, AP)

(Khalid Mohammed, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Baghdad - Iraq's parliament on Saturday voted to accord full legal status to government-sanctioned Shi'ite militias as a "back-up and reserve" force for the military and police and empower them to "deter" security and terror threats facing the country like the Islamic State group.

The legislation, supported by 208 of the chamber's 327 members, was promptly rejected by Sunni Arab politicians and lawmakers who said it was evidence of what they called the "dictatorship" of the country's Shi'ite majority.

"The majority does not have the right to determine the fate of everyone else," Osama al-Nujaifi, one of Iraq's three vice presidents and a senior Sunni politician, told a news conference after the vote.

"There should be genuine political inclusion. This law must be revised".

Sunni lawmaker Ahmed al-Masary said the legislation fuels doubts about the participation of all Iraqi communities in the political process. "The legislation aborts nation building," he said, adding that the law created a dangerous parallel to the country's military and police and that the Shi'ite bloc in parliament has not provided the Sunnis with the assurances they required.

National unity

Many in the Sunni Arab community wanted the militiamen to be integrated into the country's military and police, a proposition long rejected by Shi'ite militia leaders, some of whom have on occasion spoken about their armed groups evolving into a force akin to Iran's Revolutionary Guards or Lebanon's Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

The law, tabled by the chamber's largest Shi'ite bloc, placed the militias under the command of Shi'ite Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and gave militiamen salaries and pensions that mirror those of the military and the police.

Senior Shi'ite politician Amar al-Hakim sought to reassure the Sunni lawmakers, saying a host of laws to be issued by the prime minister to regulate the work of the militias would allay their fears.

"The law creates a suitable climate for national unity," he said.

The vote comes at a sensitive time when the government is waging a major campaign to dislodge ISIS from Mosul, Iraq's second largest city and the last major urban centre still held by the extremist group. The government, through the military, has been trying to use the campaign to reassure the city's mostly Sunni residents, promising them a life free of the atrocities and excesses of the extremist ISIS.

Read more on:    isis  |  iraq

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.