05 December 2015
Shi’ite militias represent important stakeholders in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq who proliferate the sectarian bloodshed in the region. Despite their jihad narrative, their large fighter mobilization and massacring of Sunni civilians, they remain unnoticed and unaccountable.
In Syria, Shi’ite militias are fighting alongside Bashar alAssad’s army, while in Iraq they represent the core of the force against ISIS. Whereas the militias in Iraq became prominent on the battlefield after the US-led invasion in 2003, the militias in Syria are a relatively new phenomenon which emerged after the civil war broke out in 2011. Most of militias are subgroups and splinters of major Shi’ite groups in Iraq and Lebanon or were founded by Iran’s Quds Forces.
These militias represent a threat to the stability of the Middle East as they proliferate the sectarian conflict in the region. The war in Syria and the fight against ISIS initiated an unprecedented Shi’ite mobilization akin to the Sunni mobilization in Afghanistan during the 1980s. Militias recruit individuals based on a Shi’ite jihad narrative which has sectarian contours. Moreover, in both countries Shi’ite militias systematically massacre Sunni civilians. Unaccountable and ignored, these militias perpetuate the sectarian conflict in the Middle East.
… Aida Mihaela Arosoaie is a Research Analyst with the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR), a component unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.
ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 07/12/2015