Iraq… welcome to hell
Incitement to war is at its highest level, as Shiite clerics call upon millions of their followers to defend the holy sites
I will not be exaggerating at all if I say that in Iraq we are facing a new crisis more dangerous than Syria, Libya and Yemen. In Iraq, there are all forms of madness and crazy people who have lost their minds. All this is happening and the U.S. president has not yet understood the gravity of the situation in the whole region. With every day that passes, he shall await an increasingly difficult and expensive tomorrow.
Now in Iraq, a new war is about to begin, and it has already started in three provinces. Incitement to war is at its highest level, as Shiite clerics call upon millions of their followers to defend the holy sites. The mufti of the Sunnis has asked millions to support the rebels. As for the government, it is represented by Nouri al-Maliki, a Prime Minister whose term has expired and is in a case of euphoria as he sees that his chance to stay in power is increasing. He is also in contact with the Iranian regime. Iran is increasingly eager to expand into Iraq under the pretext of supporting the Shiites.
Today, civil war has come closer than ever since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime. Regional and international reactions are now urgently needed to curb the prospect of civil war.
Distinguishing between facts and myths
Amid all this anger, it is necessary for us to understand the constants and variables, and distinguish between facts and myths. We should keep in mind all the possibilities for months and perhaps years.
At the same time, Arab Sunnis should not keep silent about criminal and internationally wanted groups that take advantage of their misery and step up to defend their casesAbdulrahman al-Rashed
Of course, the crisis had backgrounds leading up to the fall of Mosul, Iraq's second city, as it was preceded by clashes in Anbar six months ago. We can say that it actually all goes back to 10 years ago with the start of the American invasion, or 20 years ago when Saddam invaded Kuwait, or 30 years ago with the war against Iran.
It can even go back to earlier when an Iranian cleric reached power in Iran and immediately announced a religious and sectarian regime, and threatened its neighbors to export the revolution, or when Saddam isolated his president Hassan al-Bakr paving the way for a dictatorial and terrifying reign in Iraq. We can also go back to 14 centuries ago, when the Sahaba (The Prophet's companions) killed each others for power. First, Caliph Uthman was assassinated and 5 years later, Caliph Ali was killed. The history of Muslims has changed since that day!
When talking about the roots of the crisis, we can pick out any year and build on it a proper defense, according to whatever political theory we want. But this does not eliminate the most important fact, which is that the crisis was always instigated by new conditions. The responsibility is on those involved in it today, whatever the motives and justifications were.
Maliki and Obama are responsible
There is no doubt that Maliki is fully responsible for this crisis. President Obama is also to be blamed as he had the ability to put pressures on the Iraqi prime minister to adopt a conciliatory political project involving various Iraqi forces, but he did not do so.
Maliki has taken over power, taking advantage of this American protection. He has expelled his Shiite allies and took all the decisions by himself. He excluded and offended about one-third of the Iraqi population, Arab Sunnis, and therefore this situation can only generate a continued disobedience, which threatens the stability of Iraq and the state’s structure.
At the same time, Arab Sunnis should not keep silent about criminal and internationally wanted groups that take advantage of their misery and step up to defend their cases, mainly ISIS and al-Qaeda. Unlike what irresponsible people and pretenders might say, they are threatening the Sunni countries; and here is Turkey calling for the NATO intervention after ISIS seized its consulate and kidnapped about 50 diplomats and citizens. Log into the Iraqi ISIS website and you will find that it is a replica of the Syrian ISIS website, which succeeded in tarnishing the Syrian revolution and served Assad’s regime. Their speech is the same as the one that threatened the security of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, and is now wreaking havoc in Yemen.
Are those taking part in the uprising members of ISIS, of the Baath party, or clan members?
I will continue this discussion tomorrow.
This article was first published on Asharq al-Awsat on June 14, 2014.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.
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