- Posted June 14, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Between Sunnis sand Shiites: Iraq Is Falling
As incredible as it may look, in only 48 hours two major Iraqi provinces, Mousl and Salah Adin, had fallen to The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) without resistance by the Iraqi Army, which fled the battlefields and left behind their uniforms, weapons, and vehicles. Meanwhile, Kirkuk, which sits on the largest oil fields, has fallen under the Kurds’ seizure. As we speak, the ISIS is now pushing toward Baghdad backed by Sunni volunteers and former Iraqi officers, who view this as an opportunity to reclaim their positions after being alienated by the Shiite government of al-Maliki, who has remained unwilling to appeal to the country’s other sects and communities.
Ironically, the Iraqi Army once appeared to fiercely fight demonstrators across al-Anbar and other Sunni cities, but did not shoot one bullet in its current defense. Under the same circumstances and in a suspicious move, al-Maliki has secretly began to arm the Shiite people in Baghdad and elsewhere in the South while preparing his militias to fight the ISIS if they move to Baghdad. One friend in Mousl has told me, “We are not afraid of the ISIS as much as we are from the government when it’s time for airstrikes on the fallen cities under the pretext of targeting ISIS elements.” To most of us, these shocking and rapid developments have created some confusion and disbelief. Yet speaking to family members and friends on the ground has made it all too real and confirmed that this conflict is not going to end well.
“[The U.S.] is not simply going to involve itself in a military action in the absence of a political plan by the Iraqis that gives us some assurance that they’re prepared to work together,” President Obama said today, in a statement outside the White House.
The United States’ option of intervention in the current Iraqi situation may soon prove to be deadly no matter what option it choses to pursue. To avoid further escalation, Washington needs to review its Iraq policy wisely. The U.S. once again has the chance to demonstrate to the Iraqi people that it’s not going to assist in dividing Iraq further— even if that appears to have been the major outcome of the 2003 U.S. involvement. The Obama administration should have realized that continuing to support the status quo in Iraq would mean encouraging incapable politician such as al-Malki to transform Iraq into another dictatorship and never-ending disintegration. In the eyes of the Sunni world, the U.S. is believed to have achieved one thing out of its Iraqi intervention, which is to replace a Sunni dictator by a Shiite dictator.
We are looking at a deeply complex situation that has more issues than merely fighting the ISIS. The sectarian nature of politics in Iraq and the region are what is driving the country into the abyss and, in the end of the day, the ISIS is just a consequence of a failed sectarian government that cannot bring Iraqis together and has only succeeded in widening the Sunni-Shiite sectarian gap by isolating and oppressing the Sunni population. Al-Maliki is paying dearly for all the mistakes he committed in Iraq and outside, particularly his involvement in the Syrian conflict by sending Shiite fighters to fight along with Assad regime. Due to the history of al-Maliki’s practice of power, there is no hope that he is going to have any political reforms or plan as Obama had hoped in his Iraq speech today.
Legally speaking, al-Maliki should now face legal challenges as his term has ended and the same is true to the Iraqi Parliament, which has also exceeded its electoral term. With no election results being declared, even if Baghdad falls, this will take us to the next phase of “Who is in charge?” And until then, the “survival of the fittest” will be the new norm once again.