Iraq In Civil War And Careening Toward Even More Chaos
The surge is working!
Multiple insurgent groups are carving Iraq into pieces along ethno-religious lines thanks to the bloodthirsty incompetence of the guy the US left in charge a few years ago:
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, ruthlessly serving his narrow sectarian agenda, has made clear that Iraq’s Sunni Arab community has little stake in his Shi’a-dominated Iraq. His policies have made Sunni Arab push-back (in essence a revival of the post-2003 war insurgency) inevitable. Although a way out of this crisis is unclear, Maliki is not part of the solution.
The full post is worth a read for its chronology the moves Maliki made that pretty much assured war in Iraq.
Naturally, the blustering American right wing is doing their best to blame President Obama for the chaos, ignoring the rather ginormous role of his predecessor in triggering the mess, and spouting hooey without the least understanding of the complexities of the political and military situation in Iraq, let alone the outside players and inside factions who have an interest in the outcome of the sectarian war:
Though the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS [ISIL in some European sources]), a jihadi group that until recently was focused on fighting in Syria’s civil war, has been credited with leading the assault, reports from the ground make it clear that other disaffected Iraqi Sunnis – former Baathists, other Islamist militias – participated in the fight. In Mosul, which fell Tuesday, the Iraqi Army was widely disliked and seen as occupiers from the Shiite south…
Persistent reports from Iraq suggest that members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard are already in Baghdad advising Iraqi government troops. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani indicated on state television today that his country is ready to get into the thick of the fight. “This is an extremist, terrorist group that is acting savagely,” Rouhani said of ISIS, adding that Iran would not “tolerate this violence and terror” in its neighbor. …
[The] Lebanese Shiite army Hezbollah  is backed by Iran and has been fighting on the side of the Syrian government against ISIS and other rebels. Could it move into Iraq and help shore up Maliki? …
The United States spent roughly $2 trillion on the war in Iraq, and trained and equipped what US politicians and officers repeatedly said was a capable and professional army. That claim has been shown in recent days to have been, at best, overly optimistic. …
Gee, ya think?
Kurdish forces are now in control of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, which they’d like to annex into their autonomous territory, and are also providing aid and shelter to refugees fleeing Mosul, a short distance from the area of Kurdish control. Kurdish leaders has been locked into a dispute with Baghdad for years over control of oil revenues in northern Iraq, and will likely demand concessions from Maliki in return for helping him to regain Mosul.
Maliki has called for arming of civilians to fight ISIS – which probably means Shiite militias. The Iraqi parliament failed to reach a quorum for a planned vote on a state of emergency that would give Maliki almost unchecked power. Given that the government has routinely jailed and tortured political opponents with the powers it already has, alarm bells should be ringing. More power for Maliki could well mean more such abuses, and more fuel for the Sunni Arab uprising. Other Shiite politicians and militia leaders appear to be in the process of mobilizing followers.
In Baghdad’s sprawling Shiite Sadr City neighborhood, named after Muqtada al-Sadr‘s father, residents have been stockpiling weapons and getting organized. Sadr, a fiery cleric whose Mahdi Army repeatedly confronted the US and engaged in attrocities against Sunni Arab insurgents and civilians during the occupation of Iraq, called yesterday for the creation of what he called “peace units” to defend Muslim and Christian shrines in the country.
The fear is that should Shiite militias, either aligned with Sadr or other groups, enter the fighting, they would engage in the kind of sectarian reprisal killings that drove Iraq’s conflict in 2006 and 2007, when tens of thousands were killed. But with each ISIS success, this scenario looks more likely.
And with a strong possibility Baghdad could fall to ISIS and its allies very soon, the US is already pulling American contractors (read: yes, including mercenaries employed to protect American interests) out of the collapsing nation:
Three planeloads of Americans were evacuated from a major Iraqi air base in Sunni territory north of Baghdad, US officials said, and Germany has urged its citizens to immediately leave parts of Iraq, including Baghdad.