High level of corruption among the Iraqi military forces occupying Mosul is undermining security measures to suppress ISIS in the aftermath of its defeat. Suspect individuals are able to pass through military checkpoints by paying $1,000 (£770) and can bring a vehicle by paying $1,500, Former Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari told The Independent on Wednesday.
He says corruption of this type is particularly rife in the 16th and 9th Iraqi army divisions and the Tribal Volunteers (Hashd al-Ashairi), drawn in part from the Shabak minority in the Nineveh Plain.
The ability of ISIS militants to remain free or be released from detention by paying bribes has led to a change in attitude among people in Mosul whom Zebari says “were previously willing to give information about ISIS terrorists to the Iraqi security forces”. They are now wary of doing so, because they see terrorists of ISIS, whom they had identified and who had been arrested, returning to the streets capable of exacting revenge on those who informed against them. Several anti-ISIS people in Mosul have that this is indeed the case and they are frightened of these returnees and ISIS “sleeper cells” that continue to exist.
Civilians in Mosul say they do not fault the behavior towards them of combat units that have borne the brunt of the fighting, such as the Counter-Terrorism Service, but they are concerned about what to expect from less well-disciplined troops.
Corruption by the occupying military forces takes different forms, according to Kurdish intelligence information cited by Zebari. Some people are “being charged $100 for removing a body from the rubble and others $500 to reoccupy their house”, where it is still standing. Iraqi army and Iranian Militia in Iraq and Syria's units have always been notorious for exacting fees and protection money from civilians, with trucks moving goods on the roads being a particularly profitable target when they pass through military checkpoints.