Caution: The video below the fold is graphic beyond measure at the 40 second mark. A boy of about 12 years is shot countless times through the side of the head with a rifle on full auto. I am sharing the video to address the evils on both sides of a sectarian war. Please see commentary below video.
The murder of a young boy was recorded on video in Tikrit and published on LiveLeak. The Iraqi town of Tikrit is made up of approximately 90% Sunni Arabs, including the boy. A militia, made up of primarily Shia Arabs, is now backed on the ground by Iran, as is the Iraqi army. As part of an offensive to retake Tikrit from ISIS, the Shia militia patrols the city, clearing it of ISIS combatants.
The video begins with the militia men accusing a boy of firing at them. The language spoken is Iraqi Arabic and translates roughly into the following:
Surrounding the boy, now handcuffed, the soldiers ask the boy, “Did you not fire at us?”
The boy replies, “By God, I did not fire a single bullet.”
In his defense, one of the Iraqi soldiers pleads that the boy’s life be spared. He stands in front of the boy. “No! No! … What is wrong with you? Nobody shoot!” he begs.
“Move! Don’t stand in front of him!” the gunman says, armed with an AK automatic rifle.
The boy’s last words are, “By God, I have done nothing wrong.” He looks at the soldier that defended him, no longer standing before the boy, and says, “Sir, please. God is watching. (Help me.)” He is immediately shot through the head and dies instantly.
Whether or not this boy did or did not fire a shot at the militia has little relevance. If the men feared the boy was sympathetic to ISIS, they should have taken the boy as prisoner. These acts of barbarity have no place in an army.
As the Iraqi army and Shia militias retake control of Sunni-majority towns like Tikrit and Mosul, murderous acts like these will only cause more Sunnis to turn to ISIS. If liberating a town from ISIS involves knee-jerk murders of any and all villagers armed with a gun, there is no question as to why ISIS continues to grow. Young men and even boys will likely join ISIS for mere survival. What better option do Sunni Iraqis have if their only alternative is to endure occupation by men like these?
The United States has removed its hand in the retake efforts and is providing neither air nor ground support. Now backed and led by the Iranian army, the Iraqi army and allied militias have become a renewed force ready to take on the the type of sectarian conflict so deeply rooted in the region’s history.