After Syria, ISIL plans Iraq dismemberment
By : Abdulrahman Rashed
In early 2012, the then developments in Syria were the talk of the town. All the analyzes revolved around the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al-Nusra Front.
Some even denied their very existence and most analysts believed the two organizations shared same values and goals and had no links with Al-Qaeda. Some suspected them of being the organs of the regime that funded similar groups in Iraq and Lebanon.
This debate went like this for 6 months, only to become clear later that it was Al-Qaeda after all. They served the Syrian regime politically by instilling fear in the ethnic minorities and they alienated international forces. They also fought the Syrian Free Army. Al-Qaeda had used the same strategy in Iraq.
The Mufti of Sunnah in Iraq took an important step by declaring the ISIL a terrorist outfit having no links with Baathist fighters, veteran military or the tribal forces. Since the Kuwait war, as a matter of fact, there was no Baath or Baathists. These are now old names that describe groups of the angry Sunnis of Iraq. Gen. Petraeus also realized this fact and thereby changed his policy toward tribes in Al-Anbar. They became his allies against Al-Qaeda. He also persuaded some Sunni opposition figures to return to Baghdad. The current crisis began in the form of peaceful sit-ins in Al-Anbar last December, in anticipation of the parliamentary elections. They had 17 demands, most of which were about legal system, demanding the release of detained people and to stop execution of people. These demands found many ears, including some Shiite leaders, like Muqtada Al-Sadr and Amman Al-Hakim.
Instead of negotiating with them, or leave them alone in their tents, Al-Maliki, the habitual fool he is, opened the gates of hell. He sent a large force that arrested Ahmad Al-Alwani, an elected MP from a famous tribe and killed his brother, which was a clear violation of the constitution and the laws. His brother is still detained. And subsequently all hell broke loose in Al-Anbar. What about the ISIL and Al-Qaeda? They are found in the area. They lie hidden since the Sunnah Sahwah tribes drove them out.
Their story makes an important chapter in the history of the last war. Sattar Abu Raishah formed a tribal coalition of Sunnah Arabs. He also formed Al- Anbar Rescue Council. Within one year, he took out Al-Qaeda and did what the US forces failed to do. Al-Qaeda assassinated him in 2007. The tribal coalition remained until the US handed over the power to Al-Maliki, who, for sectarian reasons, stopped the government subsidies to the thousands who were part of the coalition and became part of the Iraqi army. Within this vacuum, ISIL was reborn. It became allied with the rebels, and got engaged in fighting Al-Maliki forces. Instead of negotiating with the tribes, he destroyed Fallujah and caused thousands of people to flee the area. Al-Maliki’s forces failed to quell ISIL and the tribes, and they all began to hunt down government forces.
Last Wednesday Iraqis woke up to the news of the fall of Mosul and the remaining cities in Nineveh governorate. The following day Tikrit followed suit, and most of Salahaldin governorate. Now there are groups on the outskirts of Baghdad.
The rebels are the majority. ISIL is also there. It will later become a burden on the rebels, and a sure ally of Al-Maliki. This reminds us of what’s going on in Syria, where there are now 3 major players: The Assads and their Iranian allies, the Free Syrian Army and its allies, and the terrorists of ISIL. Iraq will be like this. The presence of ISIL will not change the major factors of the conflict in Iraq. One third of the population are being punished by the regime for sectarian and well as politically expedient reasons. It is only natural that they will revolt against it.
They will continue to resist him, either as tribes or as other armed factions. Here is the place where Al-Qaeda creeps in. Where there are angry people and huge political vacuum, they show up. Just like they did in Afghanistan and Syria. Like ISIL and Al-Qaeda, there is Nuri Al-Maliki, a bad man who is willing to massacre his people just to remain in power, much like Bashar Assad. In order for Iraq to remain stable, Al-Maliki must go, together with Al-Qaeda.