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Nouri al-Maliki, the scapegoat in Iraq


It’s entertaining and educating how Iraq’s elected Prime Minister Norui al-Maliki is being spoken of as a sectarian tinpot dictator “installed” by Americans and Iranians in Iraq, being held responsible for the entire mess the country is currently facing in the shape of the growing Salafi Wahhabi (wrongly described as Sunni) violence, Kurd’s unsatiable appetite for territory, oil wells and autonomy, weak army and poor infrastructure. Despite his alleged incompetence, the reality is that he won the elections and enjoys the support of majority of elected representatives in Iraq’s Parliament.

The US-govt and media is blaming Nouri Al-Maliki’s “sectarian” govt but there is almost no mention of Saudi support for Salafi and Deobandi terrorists in Syria and Iraq. Al-Maliki’s incompetence aside, governments in Afghanistan, Libya and Nigeria are equally helpless against Saudi-funded heavily armed Salafi and Deobandi terrorists. Presenting Al-Maliki as a scapegoat and rationalizing Salafi-Deobandi terrorism as Sunni-Shia sectarian war is both inaccurate and distasteful. It is as wrong as to rationalize Al Qaeda, ASWJ and Taliban’s actions against the West as Muslim-Christian feud.

Did you know, the leader of ISIS alQaeda in Iraq, AbuBakr Baghdadi was once in US custody, but CIA released him!
Also did you know, ISIS was funded for years by wealthy donors in Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. This happened right under the watchful eyes of CIA and US administration!

For a primer on Western media’s obfuscation and lies about the situation in Iraq, refer to Zara Bokhari’s article: https://lubpak.net/archives/314795

The beleaguered Prime Minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, is the latest in the long list of the West’s favorite political leaders turned into pariahs. The conventional wisdom now is that Maliki’s flaws and wrong policies, especially his alienation of the Sunnis and dictatorial style of governance, are at the root of Iraq’s problems, including its latest troubles with extremist Islamic militants.

Clearly, Maliki has not been a successful prime minister. Yet have his very real and assumed flaws been the only, or even the main, cause of Iraq’s problems today? Could a different person have done a better job? Or have the real culprits been structural problems, Iraq’s long and more recent history, and the policies of regional and international actors? A further question: are the grievances of Iraq’s Sunnis solely attributable to the Shias’ desire to monopolize power? What about the Sunnis’ inability to come to terms with any type of government in which the Shias have a real rather than ceremonial function?

Another important question is: Does ISIS (or ISIL) represent the ideology and aspirations of majority of Iraq’s Sunnis who, by the way, abhor ISIS’s Saudi Salafi Wahabi (or Deobandi) ideology.

These questions are by no means posed to minimize or underestimate the impact of the current leadership’s mismanagement and mistakes, or the corrosive influence of dissension within Shia ranks among the supporters of Maliki, the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and Ammar al-Hakim, the head of the Islamic Council of Iraq. But if viewed impartially, the weight of evidence shows that other factors have played more substantial roles in causing Iraq’s previous problems and the latest crisis than Maliki’s incompetence and dictatorial tendencies.

The most significant factor behind Iraq’s problems has been the inability of Iraq’s Sunni Arabs and its Sunni, mainly Salafi Wahabi, neighbors to come to terms with a government in which the Shias, by virtue of their considerable majority in Iraq’s population, hold the leading role. This inability was displayed early on, when Iraq’s Sunnis refused to take part in Iraq’s first parliamentary elections, and resorted to insurgency almost immediately after the US invasion and fall of Saddam Hussein. All along, the goal of Iraqi Sunnis has been to prove that the Shias are not capable of governing Iraq. Indeed, Iraq’s Sunni deputy prime minister, Osama al Najafi, recently verbalized this view. The Sunnis see political leadership and governance to be their birthright and resent the Shia interlopers.

The Sunnis’ psychological difficulty in accepting a mostly Shia government is understandable. After ruling the country for centuries, both under the Ottomans and after independence, and after oppressing the Shias and viewing them as heretics and dregs of society, the Sunnis find Shia rule to sit heavily on them. It is thus difficult to imagine what any Shia prime minister could have done — or could now do — to satisfy the Sunnis. For example, during the early years after Saddam’s fall, once they had realized their mistake of abstaining from politics, the Sunnis made unreasonable demands as the price of cooperation, such as taking the defense portfolio. Yet considering what the Shias had suffered under Saddam, there was no possibility that they could agree.

Iraq’s Sunni Arabs have not been alone in undermining the authority of the country’s Shia leadership. Masood Barzani, who dreams of an independent Kurdistan, has also done what he can to undermine the authority of the government in Baghdad, by essentially running his own economic, oil, and foreign policies. A factor in Barzani’s attitude has been his anti-Iran sentiments, which go back to the troubles that his father, Mulla Mustafa Barzani, had with the Shah.

Iraq’s Sunni Salafi neighbors, notably Saudi Arabia and Turkey, but also Qatar, also cannot countenance a Shia government in Baghdad. In addition to the anti-Shia impact of the Wahhabi creed that is dominant in Saudi Arabia and among the Qatari leadership, this Sunni animosity has derived from the perception that a Shia government in Iraq would change the balance of regional power in Iran’s favor. Yet Maliki is the least pro-Iranian of Iraq’s Shia leaders, with the possible exception of the now-notorious Ahmad Chalabi. During Saddam’s time, Maliki belonged to the Dawa party, a rival of Iraq’s Islamic Revolutionary Council that was supported by Iran, and he spent more time in Syria than in Iran. This is one reason why the US preferred Maliki to personalities like Ibrahim Jafari.

Moreover, Maliki tried to reach out to Turkey and to other Arab states, including Saudi Arabia. But Turkey snubbed him and supported his rival, Tariq al-Hashimi. The Arab states have also shunned him. Under these circumstances, Maliki had no choice but to move closer to Iran. Yet the idea that he has thus become an Iranian pawn is a myth with no foundation in reality. Even now, Iraq has not reestablished the Algiers Agreement of 1975 that regularized Iraqi-Iranian border disputes, an agreement which, before attacking Kuwait in 1990, Saddam had accepted. Iraq has not signed a peace treaty with Iran and competes with it in courting clients for oil exports. Iraq also has more extensive trade relations with Turkey than with Iran.

In short, by exaggerating the sectarian factor, Iraq’s Sunni neighbors have exacerbated Shia fears and made it more difficult for them to pursue a more inclusive policy vis-à-vis the Sunnis. Further, most killings in Iraq have been in Shia areas, undertaken by Sunni extremists of various kinds who are funded by Sunni governments in the region. The plight of the Shias has also not been limited to Iraq. Similar mistreatment in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan has gone unnoticed by the West, while the exclusion of Iraq’s Sunnis from leadership posts in Baghdad has been blown out of proportion. Western and especially US dislike of Iran has been a major cause for the disregarding of mass killings and assassination of Shias.

America’s conflicting policy objectives in the region have also led it to pursue policies in Iraq that have contributed to current US dilemmas. The most glaring example was the US courting of Sunni insurgents and tribal leaders, both of which were thus emboldened to commit acts such as attacking the Shia shrines in Samara in 2006 and frightening the Shias that America would again betray them as it did at the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Wanting to isolate Iran and perhaps to bring about regime change there, the US has also done virtually nothing to reign in the Saudis and others, including Turkey and Qatar, to prevent them from funding Sunni insurgents. Instead, Washington has blamed Iraqi unrest solely on Iranian meddling. Even today, there is no acknowledgement by the United States that the Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) cannot achieve what it has been doing without outside help.

At an even more fundamental level, America’s efforts to achieve too many contradictory and incompatible goals have been at the root of Iraq’s crisis. To date, it has proved to be difficult — indeed impossible — to eliminate Saddam but produce a stable Iraq; to isolate Iran and possibly change its regime; to get rid of Assad in Syria without exacerbating its civil war; to forge a Sunni-Israeli alliance against Shia Iran; and to convince other Shias throughout the region to continue playing second fiddle to the Sunnis.

To summarize, Nouri al-Maliki is certainly flawed and has made many mistakes. But the real culprits have been Iraq’s considerable fault lines, contradictory policies pursued by the West, and the predatory approach of Iraq’s neighbors. Thus even if Maliki is removed from office, Iraq’s situation will not improve unless these fault lines are dealt with and the policies pursued by outside states in Iraq are remedied. Rather, the situation will get much worse because the Shias are most unlikely to once again accept living under a regime that can be characterized as “Saddamism without Saddam” or, worse, what they would consider a Salafi-Takfiri government that considers them heathens deserving death.

Prof Shireen T Hunter – Georgetown University

The Real Causes of Iraq’s Problems

Maliki commands considerable popularity. Indeed, the most recent elections clearly showed that he is the least unpopular Iraqi politician, with more than 720,000 personal votes and by far the largest parliamentary bloc. Even more baffling to the uninitiated, the current crisis is likely to have augmented his popularity, a result of existential fears if for no other reason.

Moreover, the knee-jerk reaction of highlighting the need to reach out to Sunnis in response to the current crisis is rather naive. Given the oceanic depths of Sunni alienation from Maliki, and all the damage that has been done over the years, what would an attempt by the prime minister to reach out to Sunnis even look like? What could he possibly say or do to engender trust from a group that views him in ways not dissimilar from how a critical mass of Shiites viewed Saddam Hussein? Furthermore, Sunni marginalization, while undoubtedly the result of Shiite-centric politicians and policies, has not been made any better by Sunnis themselves. From the beginning, there was a considerable body of Sunni opinion that was implacably opposed to the post-2003 order. As one scholar put it recently, “The most significant factor behind Iraq’s problems has been the inability of Iraq’s Sunni Arabs and its Sunni neighbors to come to terms with a government in which the Shi’as … hold the leading role.” Indeed, in addition to the activities of ISIS, a good part of the current crisis is a rebellion against not just Maliki but the entire post-2003 political order.

Such attitudes have sustained considerable latent support for insurgency and will likely extend to any of Maliki’s realistic replacements from the current crop of politicians. Furthermore, an additional problem with calls for greater Sunni inclusion lies with the caliber of Sunni politicians, who have proven themselves to be no less venal, self-interested and morally bankrupt than their Shiite counterparts. This raises broader questions about whether a change of prime minister or the formation of another “national unity government” is a solution or simply akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. There are also serious questions about the representativeness of “Sunni representatives” – especially if they accept working with Maliki and are thus excommunicated with the charge of being “Maliki Sunnis.”

Too many Sunnis and too many Sunni political actors have yet to resolve the profound dilemmas presented by regime change in 2003, including issues relating to the legacies of the past and Sunnis’ place in the new Iraq. In resolving these issues they have been helped neither by their own political leaders nor by the Arab world’s antagonistic stance toward the new Iraq nor by their own predisposition to reject the post-2003 order. Needless to say, least helpful of all have been Iraq’s Shiite political actors who have done precious little to avoid validating what may once have been irrational suspicions. In essence, many Sunni Arab Iraqis have yet to find the balance between the pursuit of their political ideals and the need to accept new realities. The counterproductive effect of this can be seen in, for example, the issue of sectarian balance: Given the widespread Sunni rejection, even amongst Sunni politicians, of the idea that they are a numerical minority, their expectations regarding sectarian balance are neither realistic nor can they be met. The contention surrounding demographics plays an equally distorting role in expectations regarding elections and elite bargaining positions.


Related: Western media’s obfuscation and lies about the situation in Iraq – by Zara Bokhari – See more at: https://lubpak.net/archives/314795#sthash.WbSkGLpF.dpuf

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  • The Real Causes of Iraq’s Problems
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    by Shireen T. Hunter

    The beleaguered Prime Minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, is the latest in the long list of the West’s favorite political leaders turned into pariahs. The conventional wisdom now is that Maliki’s flaws and wrong policies, especially his alienation of the Sunnis and dictatorial style of governance, are at the root of Iraq’s problems, including its latest troubles with extremist Islamic militants.


  • The rise of ISIS in Iraq is a neocon’s dream

    Thursday, 19 June 2014
    Text size A A A

    Dr. Nafeez Ahmed
    Following the bulk of western reporting on the Iraq crisis, you’d think the self-styled ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’ (ISIS) popped out of nowhere, took the West completely by surprise, and is now rampaging across the Middle East like some random weather event.

    The reality is far more complex, and less palatable. ISIS’ meteoric rise is a predictable consequence of a longstanding U.S.-led geostrategy in the Middle East that has seen tyrants and terrorists as mere tools to expedite access to regional oil and gas resources.

    In the run-up to the 2003 invasion, oil was of course center stage. While the plans to invade, capture and revitalise Iraq’s flagging oil industry with a view to open it up to foreign investors were explored meticulously by the Pentagon, U.S. State Department and UK Foreign Office – there was little or no planning for post-war reconstruction.

    Opening up Iraq’s huge oil reserves would avert what one British diplomat at the Coalition Provisional Authority characterised as a potential “world shortage” of oil supply, stabilising global prices, and thereby holding off an energy crunch anticipated in 2001 by a study group commissioned by vice president Dick Cheney.

    Sectarian partition

    Simultaneously, influential neoconservative U.S. officials Cheney and deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz co-authored a hair-brained plan to re-engineer the region through the sectarian partition of Iraq into three autonomous cantons for Sunnis, Kurds and Shiites.

    The geopolitical jockeying between the U.S., Britain, the Gulf states, Turkey and Iran, has spawned an Islamist Frankenstein – a movement so ruthless even their parent network al-Qaeda disowned them

    Dr. Nafeez Ahmed
    The scheme was described by U.S. private intelligence firm Stratfor, which observed in October 2002: “The new government’s attempts to establish control over all of Iraq may well lead to a civil war between Sunni, Shia and Kurdish ethnic groups… The fiercest fighting could be expected for control over the oil facilities” – exactly the scenario unfolding now as ISIS rampages across Iraq.

    Fracturing the country along sectarian lines, continued Stratfor, “may give Washington several strategic advantages”:

    “After eliminating Iraq as a sovereign state, there would be no fear that one day an anti-American government would come to power in Baghdad, as the capital would be in Amman [Jordan]. Current and potential U.S. geopolitical foes Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria would be isolated from each other, with big chunks of land between them under control of the pro-U.S. forces.”

    Equally important, Washington would be able to justify its long-term and heavy military presence in the region as necessary for the defense of a young new state asking for U.S. protection – and to secure the stability of oil markets and supplies. That in turn would help the United States gain direct control of Iraqi oil and replace Saudi oil in case of conflict with Riyadh.”

    This sort of strategic thinking drove the U.S. to covertly arm both sides. As one U.S. Joint Special Operations University report said: “U.S. elite forces in Iraq turned to fostering infighting among their Iraqi adversaries on the tactical and operational level.” This included disseminating and propagating al-Qaeda jihadi activities by “U.S. psychological warfare (PSYOP) specialists” to fuel “factional fighting” and “to set insurgents battling insurgents.”

    In early 2005, Pakistani defense sources revealed that the Pentagon had “resolved to arm small militias backed by U.S. troops and entrenched in the population.” These militias were in fact “former members of the Ba’ath Party” trained up by al-Qaeda insurgents, receiving covert U.S. support to “head off” the threat of a “Shi’ite clergy-driven religious movement.” Almost simultaneously, the Pentagon began preparing its ‘Salvador option’ to sponsor Shiite death squads to “target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers.”

    Divide and rule

    This divide-and-rule strategy has fueled sectarianism not just in Iraq, but across the region. For the last decade, both the Bush and Obama administration have worked with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf states to supply arms and military support to groups across the Middle East that could counter Iranian influence. Those most capable of doing so, it turns out, are extremist Sunni groups affiliated to al-Qaeda.

    The short-sighted strategy has included extensive financing and training of jihadist groups in Syria to the tune of up to a billion dollars – a policy that began as early as 2009 according to a former French foreign minister.

    A glimpse of the end-vision for this strategy was revealed in a 2006 Armed Forces Journal paper by Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters, former head of future warfare in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence. His paper called for a complete re-drawing of Middle East borders through “ethnic cleansing.”

    This would somehow establish the “security” and “democracy” necessary to secure “access to oil supplies in a region that is destined to fight itself.” The plan repeated the Cheney-Wolfowitz scheme to split Iraq into three, but also included breaking apart Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan through “inevitable attendant bloodshed,” from which eventually “new and natural borders will emerge” for a supposedly more peaceful region.

    Startlingly close

    What is playing out now seems startlingly close to scenarios described in 2008 by a U.S. Army-funded RAND Corp report on how to win ‘the long war.’ Recognizing that “for the foreseeable future, world oil production growth and total output will be dominated by Persian Gulf resources,” the document advocated a “Divide and Rule” strategy to cement U.S. access to Gulf oil.

    On the one hand, this would involve fostering conflict amongst the jihadists themselves – “exploiting fault lines between the various Salafi-jihadist groups to turn them against each other and dissipate their energy on internal conflicts.” On the other, it would entail fostering conflict between Sunni and Shi’a by “shoring up the traditional Sunni regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan as a way of containing Iranian power and influence in the Middle East and Persian Gulf.”

    Although this could empower Islamist terrorists, the report assumed that this “may actually reduce the al-Qaeda threat to U.S. interests in the short term” by bogging them down in targeting of “Iranian interests throughout the Middle East and Persian Gulf.”

    In reality, the geopolitical jockeying between the U.S., Britain, the Gulf states, Turkey and Iran, has spawned an Islamist Frankenstein – a movement so ruthless even their parent network al-Qaeda disowned them. In turn, ISIS’ rapid ascent is unwittingly playing into the hands of neocon fanatics in Washington and London, eager to seize the new opportunity to bring their dreams of remaking the Middle East to fruition.

    Dr. Nafeez Ahmed is a bestselling author, investigative journalist and international security scholar. He is executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development in London, and author of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization among other books. His work on international terrorism was officially used by the 9/11 Commission, among other government agencies. He writes for the Guardian on the geopolitics of environmental, energy and economic crises on his Earth insight blog. Follow him on Twitter @nafeezahmed.

    Last Update: Thursday, 19 June 2014 KSA 10:02 – GMT 07:02


  • Not only Saudi Arabia, Qatar too is unashamedly a funder and backer of ISIS:

    Qatari: U.S. intervention in Iraq would be seen as war on Sunni Arabs
    By Mohamed Salman
    McClatchy Foreign Staff
    Published: Monday, Jun. 16, 2014 – 1:48 pm
    Last Modified: Monday, Jun. 16, 2014 – 4:49 pm
    DOHA, Qatar — A former Qatari ambassador to the United States offered up a warning to the Obama administration Monday that any military intervention on behalf of the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki would be seen as an act of “war” on the entire community of Sunni Arabs.
    Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa also warned against the United States working with Iran to repulse the advance by the radical Sunni group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, something that Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday the United States would be willing to consider.

    “For the West or Iran or the two working together to fight beside Maliki against Sunni Arabs will be seen as another conspiracy against Sunni,” Khalifa tweeted.

    Khalifa’s comments via Twitter (@NasserIbnHamad) show the complicated calculations the Obama administration faces as it considers whether to come to Maliki’s aid while insurgents from ISIS consolidate their gains over much of northern and central Iraq and menace the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

    Maliki’s Shiite Muslim government has angered Sunnis across the Arab world for being close to Shiite-ruled Iran and for what Sunnis describe as widespread mistreatment of their co-religionists in Iraq.

    Khalifa retired from Qatar’s diplomatic service in 2007, but he remains an influential voice in Qatari foreign-policy circles.

    The sentiments behind his warning were reflected in remarks that Qatar’s foreign minister, Khalid bin Mohammed al Attiyah, made Sunday in Bolivia and that were distributed Monday by Qatar’s official news service.

    Attiyah stopped far short of Khalifa’s suggestion that airstrikes would be seen as an act of war by Sunnis outside Iraq, and he didn’t mention Sunnis specifically in the comments released Monday. But he laid blame for the rapid advance of ISIS squarely on Maliki’s rule. He said Maliki had deliberately excluded “large groups of Iraqis” from sharing in power.

    “While we strongly condemn terrorism and violence in all its forms and manifests,” Attiyah said, “we must, however, take into account the fact that injustice, exclusion, marginalization and use of security and military solutions exclusively to suppress popular demands can . . . fuel violence and contribute to its expansion.”

    He added, “We swiftly urge those concerned to pay attention to the demands of large segments of the population who only seek equality and participation, away from all forms of sectarian or denominational discrimination.”

    President Barack Obama made similar demands Friday, saying he’d asked the Pentagon to draw up a list of possible options to stop the ISIS advance but that the United States would consider taking those steps only if Iraq’s feuding politicians could resolve their differences _ something few observers believe is possible.

    Khalifa’s warning about how Sunnis elsewhere in the Arab world would view American military intervention draws attention to other concerns that might influence U.S. actions on Maliki’s behalf.

    The split between the Sunni and Shiite interpretations of Islam date to the seventh century, but it drives modern rivalries between Shiite-led Iran and Sunni-led Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf monarchies. Qatar has been a close collaborator with the United States in Syria and elsewhere and it’s home to the U.S. Central Command’s forward Air Force detachment at al Udeid Air Base outside Doha.

    In his comments, Khalifa noted that Maliki has ruled Iraq for more than eight years, longer than Obama has been the U.S. president, and that in that time Maliki had squandered “any chance” to build a nonsectarian, stable and all-inclusive country.

    “Gulf states should inform the West any intervention in Iraq or military cooperation with Iran to prop up al Maliki will be considered unfriendly,” he tweeted.

    “Any intervention in Iraq by the West to prop up criminal al Maliki in Iraq will be seen by the whole Sunni Arabs and Muslims as war against them.”

    The Qatari diplomat accused Maliki of going on a “crusade against Iraqi Sunni Arabs, killing them and bombing their cities.”

    He called the ISIS advance the “logical outcome” and said it was “no surprise to any observer of Iraq’s politics.”

    “ISIS is a tiny element in the bigger revolt by Iraq’s Arab Sunni tribes who suffered so much under Maliki sectarian regime. . . . Maliki has been bombing&destroying Sunni Arabs cities and killing them for the past six month,” he said.

    Salman is a McClatchy special correspondent.

    Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/06/16/6487754/qatari-us-intervention-in-iraq.html#storylink=cpy

  • By its furious act of terror and mass murder, the ruthless beheading machine ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) has linked the Iraqi civil war to the Syrian bloodbath with a plan to establish a medieval caliphate in the desert region between the two countries. ISIS, its ranks enlarged with Ba’athists left over from the Saddam regime, now occupies the important political and economic hub city of Mosul as well as large swaths of the so-called Sunni triangle, and is pushing south toward Baghdad as 500,000 Iraqis flee their homes. Despite all the regional threats and internal divisions; despite the systematic violence; despite their plans years in the making; despite their control of some oil fields (while the oil companies and the industrialized world are intent on keeping prices down); and despite the changes that have occurred in the tactics of waging war; despite all this, ISIS has picked a fight it cannot actually win.

    The governing coalition based on a Shia-Kurdish alliance, which also includes realist and moderate Sunnis, emerged from the election, is backed by the international community and will hold. It is of such importance that the US and Iran are exploring cooperation on Iraq.


  • LOL, all this strife and loss of life over stupid, insignificant theological differences. It’s incredible what human beings will kill each other over. Soccer allegiances, sexual jealousies, different conceptions of an invisible man who ‘created’ the universe…It’s enough to make a monkey feel embarrassed. Luckily, atheism is spreading in Saudi Arabia, and presumably the rest of the region too, as swathes of young people witness and become disillusioned with the despicable way that their political and religious leaders behave when they feel they have the sanction of ‘God’. ‘God’ is just a code-word for ‘switch off your brain and stop thinking’.

  • “Western powers and their regional allies have largely escaped criticism for their role in reigniting the war in Iraq. Publicly and privately, they have blamed the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for persecuting and marginalising the Sunni minority, so provoking them into supporting the Isis-led revolt. There is much truth in this, but it is by no means the whole story. Maliki did enough to enrage the Sunni, partly because he wanted to frighten Shia voters into supporting him in the 30 April election by claiming to be the Shia community’s protector against Sunni counter-revolution.
    But for all his gargantuan mistakes, Maliki’s failings are not the reason why the Iraqi state is disintegrating. What destabilised Iraq from 2011 on was the revolt of the Sunni in Syria and the takeover of that revolt by jihadis, who were often sponsored by donors in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates. Again and again Iraqi politicians warned that by not seeking to close down the civil war in Syria, Western leaders were making it inevitable that the conflict in Iraq would restart. “I guess they just didn’t believe us and were fixated on getting rid of [President Bashar al-] Assad,” said an Iraqi leader in Baghdad last week.”

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