Evidence of Executions by Iraqi Forces Surfaces Recent fighting between Shiite militia and Iraqi troops highlighted severe, lingering problems for the U.S.-trained forces, including tactical and logistical issues and desertion. Even more grave, evidence points to executions of detained militiamen by some of the security forces.
NPR logo

Evidence of Executions by Iraqi Forces Surfaces

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/89388187/89388148" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Evidence of Executions by Iraqi Forces Surfaces

Evidence of Executions by Iraqi Forces Surfaces

Evidence of Executions by Iraqi Forces Surfaces

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/89388187/89388148" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

An Iraqi soldier searches residents at a checkpoint near the entrance to Shula, a predominantly Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad where a curfew and car ban remain in effect. Eric Westervelt, NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Eric Westervelt, NPR

An Iraqi soldier searches residents at a checkpoint near the entrance to Shula, a predominantly Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad where a curfew and car ban remain in effect.

Eric Westervelt, NPR

Recent fighting between Shiite militia and Iraqi troops highlighted severe, lingering problems for the U.S.-trained forces, including tactical and logistical issues and desertion.

Even more grave, evidence points to executions of detained Shiite militiamen by members of the Iraqi security forces.

NPR has obtained audio broadcast last week from an Iraqi police radio channel in the Shiite city of Karbala. In the audio, an Iraqi policeman asks his commander what to do with a wounded member of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's militia.

"Do not bring him over, do not bring him over here, as I told you before, kill him, do not make him reach here," the supervisor orders.

"Clear sir, clear," the policeman replies.

NPR confirmed with hospital officials in Karbala and the family of the militiaman referred to in the audio, Aqueel al Hez-ali. His family says al Hez-ali was found dead five days ago with multiple bullet holes in his head and torso.

A spokesman for the Iraqi government, Ali Dabbagh, did not respond to repeated phone calls seeking comment.

According to U.S. officers in Baghdad, the Iraqi army performed far better than the police in many places and proved tough during intense fighting. But overall, they say, the results were mixed.

During a recent battlefield tour Brig. Gen. Mike Milano, the deputy commander of U.S. forces in Baghdad, praised the Iraqi security forces' overall performance in the capital.

But he concedes there were big shortcomings, especially in terms of the Iraqi army's own support mechanisms, the key to any military's ability to conduct and sustain independent operations.