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    More than Mosul...

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    goodyboy
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    More than Mosul...

    Post  goodyboy on Fri 13 Jun 2014, 12:03

    from the iBeach...  What a Face 



    Reidar Visser (historian) tweet...
    I've tried to put #Iraq PM Maliki's response to #ISIS attack on Mosul in some perspective for @ForeignAffairs
    http://t.co/JY0JJAtuqK

    More than Mosul
    Nuri al-Maliki's Plans for a Divided Iraq



    A girl, who fled from the violence in Mosul, carries a case of water at a camp on the outskirts of Arbil in Iraq's Kurdistan region, June 12, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters)

    Lately, Iraqi politics has been full of contradictions. On April 30, millions of voters -- including millions of Sunni Arabs -- selected mostly moderate candidates in the country’s third general election since its current constitution was adopted in 2005. Just weeks later, the local government in the largest Sunni city, Mosul, fell to a group of Syria-based radicals called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The Iraqi security forces barely resisted.

    With the situation in Mosul rapidly deteriorating, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki seems to be considering two main alternatives: proceed with forming a new cabinet, which, to achieve a modicum of stability, would require him to include at least some of his political enemies, or consolidate his influence among Iraqi Shia, with little regard for what happens to the Sunni and Kurdish parts of the country.

    These two alternatives reflect two very different strategies, both of which Maliki has pursued over the last several years. Since he became prime minister in 2006, Maliki has sometimes tried to transcend the ethno-sectarianism that has characterized Iraqi politics since the 2003 U.S. invasion. By going after hardliners within his own Shia community, especially the Sadrists, Maliki tried to paint himself as a prime minister for all Iraqis. By insisting on a centralized energy policy, he broke down the Shia-Kurdish compact that had been so central to Iraqi politics in earlier years. He also alienated many fellow Shia in Basra and in the far south, who had hoped for greater energy autonomy. Finally, by standing firm against Kurdish claims to territories in the north, he won friends outside his own ethno-religious community, including the Sunni Turkmens, Sunni Arabs, and Christians living in those areas.

    Maliki’s attempts to overcome Iraq’s divided politics were more enthusiastic between 2008 and 2010, when he discovered that he could increase his own power by challenging fellow Shia politicians and appealing to Iraqis more broadly. His plans fell by the wayside after the 2010 general election thanks, not least, to a concerted effort by other Shia parties and Iran to bring him back into the sectarian fold. Maliki did try, however, to revive his old strategies before the general election this year. In that race, he spoke of Iraq’s “political majority” and seemed to assume that he’d be able to win over at least some Sunni Arabs, who would join forces with him in the struggle to stamp out Kurdish attempts at an ever more independent energy policy.

    At the same time, though, a very different -- more sectarian -- Maliki has been lurking just around the corner. In his first term, for example, Maliki was one of the few Shia leaders to urge moderation in the regime’s de-Baathification program. But he was highly selective in his moderation; regardless of legal criteria, Shia former Baathists were often allowed to continue to serve and Sunnis tended to be dismissed. In his second term, Maliki also became associated with projects that smacked of sectarianism. Sometimes, they went even further than schemes he had criticized back in 2005, such as a plan by some of his Shia political competitors to create a Shia federal canton. At the time, Maliki had dismissed the idea as a recipe for the partition of Iraq. But, just before this year’s general election, he backed similar legislation to create new provinces in a number of areas in northern Iraq -- a move that would protect Shia minorities there from Sunni control and potentially connect them with the Shia-dominated Baghdad province. More generally, despite plenty of opportunities during his two terms in office, Maliki failed to reach out to Sunni Arab communities beyond striking personal friendships with selected tribal sheikhs and local politicians.

    Maliki’s ambiguity on sectarian politics informed his reaction to the fall of Mosul. The rapid withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Mosul and other Sunni areas suggests that Maliki simply gave up on defending them, preferring instead to consolidate his control over Shia zones. The moves have added fuel to discussions about the potential partition of Iraq.

    At the same time, however, Maliki has tried to distance himself from the army’s withdrawal, calling it a conspiracy and hinting at subversive local Sunni politicians’ involvement. Maliki knows that, to finally form a government after the April 30 election -- out of which he emerged with the largest number of seats but not an outright majority -- he would need to join with at least one major Kurdish or Sunni leader. Until now, his hubris has seemed to prevent him from doing so, but events in Mosul may have finally injected some much-needed realism into his political thinking.

    Maliki must know that he has already lost many of his cards. For example, to the extent that some Sunni politicians were previously interested in dealing with him, it was predicated on Maliki’s tough stance on Kurdish claims to disputed territories. Following the ISIL attack, though, Kurdish forces have occupied most of those territories, thereby depriving Maliki of what little leverage he had over Sunni Arab politicians. If Maliki wants to try to strike a partnership with the Kurds instead -- probably the most realistic alternative at present-- he will find that they have already secured much of what they want on their own. The only things Maliki would have left to offer are more generous payments to the Kurdish armed forces out of the central government’s coffers and painful compromises on the independence of the Kurdish oil sector.

    Alternatively, Maliki could be thinking that a smaller, Shia-dominated Iraq offers him the best chance of staying in power, since he does enjoy a clear parliamentary majority in Shia areas. But any move toward a formal partition of the country will meet will considerable regional resistance. Despite its support for Iraqi Kurds, Turkey probably is not ready to recognize a fully independent Kurdistan. For its part, Saudi Arabia would likely feel threatened if the ISIL were to build bases beyond Syria. Even Iran, although potentially tempted by the emergence of a smaller and more Shia Iraq that might be easier to dominate, would not be happy about having its access to Syria blocked by an explicitly Sunni political entity in western Iraq.

    So far, Maliki’s response to the crisis has indicated that he wants to further concentrate power instead of sharing it more broadly. Just after Mosul fell, he attempted to impose emergency rule, a plan the Iraqi parliament failed to embrace. When his supporters responded by threatening to involve Iraq’s supreme court, one felt a sense of déjà vu. Maliki, it seems, could be aiming to amass power based on his strong Shia majority and a belief that the rest of Iraq simply does not count. If this tendency prevails over coming weeks, it would mean that Maliki learned nothing from the dramatic fall of Mosul.
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    Re: More than Mosul...

    Post  goodyboy on Sun 20 Jul 2014, 12:37

    from the iBeach...  What a Face 



    Kirk H. Sowell @UticensisRisk
    The problem is not that the Iraqi govt "failed" to fight corruption in the military but rather this was a conscious policy for political reasons.
    One cannot understand Nuri al-Maliki's failed legacy as Commdr-in-Chief w/o taking into account the corruption & politicization of the Army.


    Kirk Sowell, Iraqi political risk analyst, attorney, historian, translator...
    http://about.me/kirksowell/
    http://www.uticensis.com
    https://www.facebook.com/kirk.sowell.1?fref=ts
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    Re: More than Mosul...

    Post  goodyboy on Sun 20 Jul 2014, 12:39

    from the iBeach...  What a Face 



    Top Kurdish security official warns West of Iraq blowback
    7/20/2014



    ARBIL, Iraq: Western countries will end up fighting insurgents who have overrun large parts of Iraq on their own doorstep unless they intervene to combat the threat at its source, a senior Kurdish security official said in an interview.

    Masrour Barzani, head of the Kurdish region's National Security Council, said he doubted Iraq's army would be able to roll back militant gains without help from outside, but that the world did not appear serious about confronting the insurgency.

    Iraq's million-strong army, trained and equipped by the United States at a cost of around $25 billion, largely evaporated in the north after militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) overran the city of Mosul last month.

    From there, they went on to seize most Sunni majority areas with little resistance, putting Iraq's very survival as a unified state in jeopardy as politicians wrangle in Baghdad over forming a government.

    Barzani said Kurdistan, which has managed so far to insulate itself against violence in the rest of Iraq and neighbouring Syria, was the "frontline against terrorism" in the Middle East, and that the inaction of Western nations was at their peril.

    "They have a choice: either they can come and face them here, or they can wait for them to go back to their own countries and face terrorism on their doorsteps," he told Reuters in an interview Saturday.

    The Kurds, who have their own armed forces known as the "peshmerga", now share all but 15 kilometres (10 miles) of their southern border with insurgents who have declared an Islamic caliphate across Iraq and Syria.

    For now, the militants are busy fighting what remains of the Iraqi army backed by Shiite militias further south, but they may eventually turn to the north, where the Kurds have expanded their territory by as much as 40 percent.

    The peshmerga have already clashed with insurgents, who are now armed with weapons seized from the Iraqi army, many of them supplied by the United States, which has urged the Kurds to take on ISIS.

    "ISIS now has a lot of modern military equipment in their possession, and to fight against them I think the peshmerga have to be much better equipped than they are," Barzani said. "For that, the United States and the international community as a whole should feel responsible".

    "We have had talks with the United States, with some of the European countries, but no practical steps have been taken to provide assistance to the KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government), especially on the military front".

    Barzani put the number of ISIS militants who took over Mosul on June 10 at fewer than 2,000, but said new recruits, fighters from Syria and capitulation of other armed factions had increased that to as many as 12,000. Another estimate by a security official in Baghdad puts the size of IS at more than 20,000 after the fall of Mosul. But there is no way to independently verify the numbers.

    Many tribal and insurgent groups have made common cause with the Islamic State to fight against Shi'ite Islamist Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, but there are tensions within their ranks that have already led to infighting.

    Assessing the strength of those groups relative to ISIS, Barzani said they were "much weaker". He suggested the KRG would be prepared to work with "moderate" tribes and forces protecting their own areas from ISIS.

    Iraqi Kurdistan has cultivated an image of relative stability in a turbulent neighbourhood, although a bombing of the headquarters of the security services in the regional capital Arbil last September showed the region remained a target.

    Barzani said Kurdish security services had managed to thwart "quite a few" attacks since then, and that the influx of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis displaced from other parts of the country into Kurdistan posed an added challenge.

    "It makes the job of our security forces much more difficult to try to keep an eye and monitor the situation," Barzani said. "We are trying our best to make sure there are no sleeper cells activated".


    Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2014/Jul-20/264467-top-kurdish-security-official-warns-west-of-iraq-blowback.ashx#ixzz381lmwKsg
    (The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)
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    Re: More than Mosul...

    Post  goodyboy on Sun 20 Jul 2014, 23:59

    ...  What a Face 

    Iraq Live Update...
    Mosul: After 1000s of years of Christians living in the city, #ISIS 'emptied' Mosul from all its Christian inhabitants. #ISIS_crimes
    https://twitter.com/IraqLiveUpdate/status/491068853066412033

    Christian exodus from Mosul sparks outrage
    http://t.co/ElmC03cfFq

    Conversion of Iraq: As Isis drives Christians out of their homes, the group’s genocidal intentions take on horrible clarity
    https://twitter.com/iraqsolidarity/status/491114068426493952


    Christian families from Mosul forced to run due to the guarantee of death by the sword.
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    Re: More than Mosul...

    Post  goodyboy on Tue 22 Jul 2014, 19:33

    from the iBeach...  What a Face 
    Map showing 2+ Million internal displaced in Iraq due to wars, ISIS and Syrian civil war...

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    Re: More than Mosul...

    Post  goodyboy on Sat 09 Aug 2014, 13:12

    from the iBeach...  What a Face 

    UNICEFiraq: WATCH (click link) 'The situation is absolutely incomprehensible.'
    Our Rep on #Sinjar via @CNN & @holmescnn


    http://t.co/3Ym8NqHuiy



    A visual guide to the crisis in Iraq and Syria
    http://nyti.ms/1vlS7ad  


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    Re: More than Mosul...

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