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Iraqi Officials Target Military Brass, Politicians Over Cities Lost To Islamic State

  • RFE/RL

Displaced Iraqis who were forced to flee their hometowns ahead of gains made by Islamic State (IS) militants in Ramadi on May 16

Displaced Iraqis who were forced to flee their hometowns ahead of gains made by Islamic State (IS) militants in Ramadi on May 16

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and lawmakers are targeting security officials and politicians in connection with the takeover of the cities of Ramadi and Mosul by Islamic State (IS) militants.

Abadi has approved a recommendation by investigators to begin court-martial proceedings against military commanders who surrendered Ramadi to IS militants, according to an August 16 announcement posted on his website.

It was unclear how many officers could face trial.

Ramadi, which is the capital of Anbar Province in western Iraq, fell to IS militants in May. The defeat is regarded as the worst setback for the Iraqi military in at least the last year.

Iraqi forces are currently fighting to retake the city with training and air support from the U.S.-led international coalition.

Abadi’s office said in the August 16 statement that he had approved "decisions of the investigative commission on the withdrawal of the Anbar Operations Command and units attached to it from the city of Ramadi."

These include "referring a number of the leaders to the military judiciary for leaving their positions without orders and contrary to instructions [and] despite the issuance of a number of orders not to withdraw," the statement said.

Nuri al-Maliki

Nuri al-Maliki

Meanwhile, an Iraqi parliamentary panel on August 16 called for more than 30 security officials and politicians, including former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, to be referred to court in connection with the fall of Mosul, in northern Iraq, to IS militants.

The report, which was seen by Reuters and confirmed as accurate by three lawmakers on the panel that produced it, has not yet been publicly released.

It has been presented to Salim al-Juburi, the speaker of Iraq’s parliament, who said it would be passed on to the country’s prosecutor-general for legal action.

"No one is above the law and the questioning of the people, and the judiciary will punish those" who are responsible, Juburi said in a statement quoted by AFP.

IS militants overran Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, in June 2014 as they captured large swaths of territory during a lightning advance through northern Syria and western and northern Iraq.

Various top Iraqi military commanders and political officials have long been seen as responsible for the loss of Mosul, but the parliamentary panel’s report is the first time these individuals have been officially named.

Abdulrahim al-Shammari, a lawmaker on the investigative committee, told AFP that Maliki was among those named in the report, as did another committee member who declined to be identified.

The inclusion of Maliki, who served as prime minister from 2006 until last year, was met with objections from his Dawa party, which pushed for his name to be omitted, AFP reported.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP