IRAQ CRISIS: SUNNI VS SHIA

Countries that are predominantly Shia and countries that are predominantly Sunni – the intensifying civil war in Iraq with the Sunni militant outfit ISIS/ISIL (Islamic State in Syria and al-Sham/the Levant) rapidly gaining grounds and threatening the Shia-dominated government of Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad – and the major Shia and Sunni powers engaged in reacting on and influencing the future course of action in the predominantly Shia Iraq – it is to worsen even more.

Iraq is staring at the real chances of its borders redrawn in the near future – on the ethnic lines – the Shia dominated areas – the Sunni dominated areas – the Kurd dominated areas – but what about the areas having the mix populations – the bloodbath is spilling over with ISIS marching ahead carrying out the ethnic cleansing of killing Shias in the towns captured – it is expected to continue until some ‘arrangement’ is reached.

Until the help comes – from inside, aided by Iran, with military and advisory support and aided by the different Shia militias (including suicide bombers), like the one by Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical cleric, whom no ‘civilized army’ would like to be on its side – or from outside, explicitly by Iran, in the name of protecting the religious Shia shrines in cities like Najaf and Karbala, ISIS has been vocal about – or from outside, the US-led strategic and targeted attacks on ISIS, but the US needs a new government in Iraq before that.

These are the possibilities that need escalation and quick implementation and in the prevailing geopolitical scenarios, one or more of them are bound to happen, and bound to happen soon, given the pace of ISIS rapid advances. They are on the way to rout the largest Iraqi province Anbar with its fourth city Rutba, a strategic win, falling to the Sunni militants today. Anbar is predominantly Sunni and the whole province is expected to fall soon.

ISIS has three strategic border crossings at Syrian border and Jordanian borders already under its control, the BBC says – also, Rutba is 150 Kms from the Jordanian border and is strategically placed between Jordan and Baghdad according to the BBC – so, their Iraq game-plan is moving along with the ‘Levant’ game-plan – and they are proving sturdy because they are getting support from the local Sunni populations, from the tribal leaders and from the countries that are predominantly Sunni, like Saudi Arabia’s strong objection to the external interference in the ongoing Iraqi affairs – and Iraq’s Shiite leadership is to owe the blame for it.

The US is right in asking for Maliki’s head – ‘reconciliation’ (used by the US President Barack Obama – a key word of US intent on its proposed roadmap in Iraq) may be a soft and outrightly misplaced word here given the ISIS brutality – but it is true the current dispensation governing Iraq from Baghdad is to share the blame – by turning Iraq, with a sizeable Sunni population, into a Shiite hegemony – the unrest was brewing and the ‘backfired acts’ by Iraq’s Shia government targeting the Sunni population and the areas made elements fall in place for ISIS to take over.

And it is on now – inviting more, sucking more – asking for blood – killing families – destroying neighbourhoods – mutilating humanity – but who cares for such words in a war – and it is worse – it is a war on religious lines – where fighters not only follow the orders blindly – they follow it with a zeal of inhuman excesses.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

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