One of the latest unpublished papers of slain Iraqi researcher Hisham al-Hashemi exposed the criminal activities committed by the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) militias in Iraq’s provinces of Basra and Salahuddin, according to an Al Hadath investigation.
Al Hadath reporter Roula al-Khateeb obtained several documents from an unnamed source looking into the latest unpublished works of al-Hashemi prior to his assassination earlier this month.
The al-Hashemi papers exposed how the PMU’s control of checkpoints alongside Iraqi security forces across Baghdad has been used to extort money from Sunni citizens, corrupt activities like oil smuggling in the province of Ninevah and the latest allegation of looting from citizens and shop owners in the provinces of Basra and Salahuddin.
“Today, the focus is on Iraq’s main oil provinces of Salahuddin and Basra. The bottom line of these studies by al-Hashemi showed that Iraq’s oil resources are not only being exploited and benefited by Iraqi state militias only but is rather being controlled by the entire Iranian axis,” al-Khateeb reported.
“The Iraqis are bring trained both ideologically and militarily in Iran. This is killing the Iraqis. They are preventing them from returning to their areas. They are taking their wealth, money, and oil. They are forcing politicking of changing the Iraqi identity and demography,” al-Khateeb added in her report.
“Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, in addition to the Iraqi state militias, are gripping and ruling the people of Iraq with both iron and fire ... in clearer words, they are occupying Iraq,” al-Khateeb said during an appearance into her investigation.
Al-Hashemi, who publicly supported the popular protests that broke out in Baghdad in October, was assassinated on July 6 when three gunmen fired dozens of bullets at him outside his home in east Baghdad.
Research from the late al-Hashemi unveiled the links of corrupt activities by finding the Iran-backed PMU’s “Economic Committee” made up of 50 people divided into two places, in the Hamra district of Tikrit and on the Baiji refinery, both cities under the Salahuddin province.
“They took over the tenders in the municipalities of Tikrit and Baiji. They took over the squares, garages, and empty lands belonging to the municipality, as well as agricultural areas, towards the Gezira and al-Daiyum regions, as well as homes belonging to Ba’ath party leaders and ISIS in the Qadisiyah and al-Zuhur neighborhoods,” al-Khateeb said in regards to her investigation looking at al-Hashemi’s unpublished research.
In Baiji refineries and gravel quarries, the PMU umbrella militia group was found to impose their control on gravel and sand quarries, including the bays of sand that are in the outer roads, by forcing commissions of their sale of building materials. They are also found to have been charging a half-profit royalty on all bidders for tenders of the Baiji refinery.
The Badr militia, a faction within the PMUs, also took control of the Alas and Ajil field and have been charging for commissions of sale to Kurdish merchants.
Al-Asaib militia’s Mohammed al-Baldawi also took control of several major projects, including a sewage project which cost 50 billion Iraqi dinars to implement.
The PMUs were also found to have charged returnees of lands taken by ISIS. Specifically, the al-Asaib militia took control of the Albu Fadous village in Yathrib, Salahuddin, and have been imposing fees on the families intending to return to their lands. The militia group has been charging each family 500,000 Iraqi dinars to take back their homes that were looted and destroyed.
“There has also been evidence of the PMU militias dismantling and then reselling refineries in the provinces. Specifically, the militias dismantled the Baiji and Seneia refineries, as well as a fertilizer factory, using large trucks to transport materials to Baghdad. After the liberation of the areas, Asaib and Badr militias resold them to the Salahuddin governorate at exorbitant prices,” al-Khateeb reported.
The PMU militias also looted and stole from homes and shops in the city of Tikrit and al-Dur and transported them to Baghdad and other provinces, with evidence of trucks and transport vehicles seen transferring the looted devices, equipment, furniture, and cash money for several days.