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/

ISIS LED TERROR SURGE AND THE WORLD CUP HEAT: HUMANITY’S PARADOXES ON SWING

ISIS, Iraq Civil War and crisis, Ukraine crisis, Taliban spread, Al Qaeda resurgence and FIFA World Cup 2014 celebrations: Humanity’s paradoxes on swing with maximum display!!

Yes, it is.

Though the crisis hotbeds and the World Cup heat are two different and unrelated issues, the timing is the devil that pushes one to think on these lines, especially for someone who has much to do with the flow of news elements in the global media and thus come to know the developments mostly in the real time.

The information is always there, looking for you. There is bad information and good information. And there is information that is just given a pass. And there are elements that push you to think.

FIFA World Cup is an event having global fan base and is watched with rapt attention on TV broadcast across the world, even in the countries where Football is not a rage, like India.

And the biggest event on Earth is on. It is the time to celebrate its energy, motion and colours. And the fans are doing that.

But the fans in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Ukraine are forced to face a different heat – the heat of terrorism – with mounting toll of civilian deaths – as the global powers keep on deliberating on options to check the spread of the militants affiliated to some of the most terrorizing outfits.

ISIS or ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria/ al-Sham/ the Levant) has taken over the large parts of Northern Iraq including cities of Mosul (Iraq’s second largest city) and Tal Afar. They had also taken Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown (just 150 Kms from Baghdad) but reports say the Iraqi forces have retaken it. As reported, ISIS militants have killed scores of civilians and captured soldiers while moving ahead in Iraq. The run of brutal executions have been shown to the world by the ISIS propaganda videos.

It is said the jihadist ISIS has taken over the Syrian rebellion fighting against the Syrian defense forces. The Al Qaeda offshoot, notorious for its brutality (something that made even the Al Qaeda to disown it, as it is routinely said), has trained combatants among its ranks and their run is spreading fast into the neighbouring Syria.

The following lines from a CBC News report explain the horror ISIS is:

You only have to look at the ruined towns northeast of the Syrian city of Aleppo to understand what happened in Iraq’s Mosul. The names of “martyred” fighters line the walls, alongside invocations to obey Sharia law, through miles of crumpled buildings, rubble and unexploded ammunition. “These people use different names, so if one is defeated the other can claim victory,” says Col. Mohamed Saleh of the Syrian army as he surveys the wreckage of a factory in which 27 of his soldiers were killed. “They call themselves ISIL, al-Nusrah Front, Deach, but they are all the same.” These very same jihadis — which the Syrian forces have been defeating — are now surging towards Baghdad, some of them, perhaps, the very same men who fought Bashar al-Assad’s regime in northern Syria.
(CBC News, June 16, 2014)

Taliban is on surge again in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Taliban factions are challenging the Pakistan and Afghanistan governments with increased terror strikes as we have seen recently. Karachi airport terror strikes or attack on Indian consulate in Herat are just the front line much reported acts. They follow a stream of bloodbath that goes deep. The threatening video and audio messages have increased in frequency, sounding more chilling and menacing.

In Ukraine, dozens of Ukrainian soldiers were killed in a separatist attack in the Eastern part of the country demanding secession from Ukraine. Though Russia denies – the mystery around ‘Russia sending tanks to aid Kremlin backed separatists’ remains (as the BBC reports). Yesterday, Russia cut off the Ukraine gas supply putting the nation even in more peril.

And amid all this, the World Cup soccer fever is catching up. Over half of the world’s population is projected to watch it unfolding over a month. The social media trends are rooting for it. And this sense of joy is real. Human psyche needs some free, relaxing moments and watching a challenging World Cup is a treat.

But this joy is clouded and eclipsed by the sudden spread of Humanity’s ruin in many parts of the world when your smartphone flashes the breaking news of a terror strike killing dozens while your favourite player is speeding ahead to score a beautiful goal!

Humanity’s paradoxes on full display!!

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