However just as with jewellery store owner Mohsen, Majid decided not to go any further and complain to the authorities. He did not want to be accused of tarnishing the reputation of those who had joined the fight against the IS group.
It is actually not surprising that some members of these militias are using their newfound power to commit violations against the ordinary people they are supposed to be protecting, Rashid al-Samarrai, a local security expert, told NIQASH. “After all their recruitment was hasty and there were no restrictions as to who could join them.”
“When somebody volunteers for the Iraqi military or police they are not supposed to have a criminal record,” al-Samarrai continues. “Often friends and neighbours are asked about their conduct and if they can vouch for them, to ensure that the volunteer is not just out there looking for trouble. However that’s not the case for these militias – they were recruited in a chaotic way and without any regard for history or personality.”
Additionally one could argue that, even if members of the unofficial Shiite Muslim militias had the best of intentions and motivations for joining the units, their leaders are certainly too preoccupied with the fight against the IS group to make sure that all of their members are behaving properly. There are no repercussions for bad behaviour and the door is wide open for abuses of power that include robbery, extortion and kidnapping.
Meanwhile it is the ordinary people of Baghdad who must pay the price, trapped between car bombs, the terrorist IS group and now the ever-increasing threat of crime, both petty and grand.