Inside Story

Can Iraq unite against ISIL?

Prime Minister Haider al-Abbadi says militias carrying out killings in Iraq are no less dangerous than terrorists.

Iraq’s prime minister has fired a warning at government and militia fighters who operate beyond the law.

Speaking at a security summit in Baghdad, Haider al-Abbadi said criminals and outlaws responsible for kidnappings and killings were no less dangerous than what he called terrorists.

He said: “We need to be unified in order to put an end to ISIL. We have to be determined to defeat ISIL on the military, security and social front. If we do this we will defeat our enemies sooner than you think.”

Abbadi’s comments were made after Shia militiamen were accused of massacring dozens of Sunni civilians as fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) were driven out of Diyala province.

He promised to rein in militias when he took office in September, and focus on the bigger fight against ISIL.

But Sunni groups say he is not doing enough to persuade them to join that fight.

So can Iraq’s rivals work together to defeat a common enemy?

Presenter: Sami Zeidan


Sabah Al-Mukhtar – Iraqi political analyst and president of the Arab Lawyers Association.

Afzal Ashraf – Consultant fellow in International Diplomacy at the Royal United Services Institute.

Saad Jawad – Political scientist and senior fellow with the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics.