• How not to think about the Iraq crisis

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    We Filipinos should be concerned with what’s happening in Iraq.

    But we should not have the naively pro-Iraqi national government thinking in the following paragraphs:

    “The ongoing strife in Iraq, fueled by the military successes of the militant Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on swathes of the country’s territory, should be given more attention by the international community because it is unimaginable that a state will fall into the hands of an extremist or terrorist group.

    “The gains made by ISIL on Iraqi territory and their brutal killing of their prisoners by the scores of thousands sends one clear message: this group prepared well for their onslaught and wants no less than the whole of Iraq in their hands.

    “What is alarming at this stage, however, is the lack of a strong resolve at this point of the international community toward the Iraqi crisis.

    “The boldest action so far that the international community has done came from the United States, or when President Barack Obama ordered the dispatch of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush to the Gulf, which fueled speculations that an air strike on the advancing militants was in the offing. Baghdad even requested for an air strike last week but that never materialized.

    “An air strike by the United States on the advancing militants can definitely turn the tide in favor of the Iraqi security forces before it is too late, and the international community, particularly the allies of the US, can even show support by sending their warships into the Gulf to be ready with missile or even air strikes of their own against the ISIL.

    “In a worst case scenario, foreign troops may have to help Iraqi security forces if only to make sure the jihadists don’t attain their objective of taking the whole of the country.

    “If Baghdad and the whole of Iraq fell into the hands of ISIL, the country can turn into a staging ground for terrorist attacks on Middle East countries and even the whole world. ISIL won’t even run short of recruits. Agence France-Presse reported last week that droves of Indonesians are raring to join the militant group in their fight against the current Iraqi regime.”

    The above article, which was submitted to The Times by a veteran journalist, does not tell the whole story. It withholds some basic and vital facts. Such as that Iraq’s population of some 32 million is made up mostly of Arabs (about 75 to 80 percent) and Kurds (about 17 percent). The rest of the people are related to the Turks and to the early people who spoke Jesus’ Aramaic tongue.

    The facts and what’s good for Iraq
    Iraq’s Arab Muslims are divided between those who follow the Shiite and Sunni sects. The Shiites make up about 75 percent of the Muslim Arabs and the Sunnis about 25 percent. The hatred between members and leaders of these two sects is deep and lethal. Each is an infidel to the other.

    The Shiites in Iraq are supported by and are beholden to Iran and its ruling ayatollahs. The Sunnis are co-religionists of the rulers and government officials of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and most of the world’s Muslim countries.

    The Kurds are an Iranian people but they are Sunni Muslims. Although they have many sects they are tolerant even of non-Islamic people, like Jews and Christians.

    Saddam Hussein was a Sunni. He oppressed the Shiite majority as well as the Kurds. When Saddam was overthrown, the US, Britain, et al. tried to form a national government acceptable to all. Of course, the popular vote went to the majority Shiites’ leaders who, expectedly, were loyal to the Western Powers’ enemy, Iran.

    The present national government that is losing to the ISIL/ISIS is Shiite and very close to Iran but the US helped install it because of the fiction that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was a democratic choice. In fact, better persons than him were available, the polls were questionable and a compromise figure acceptable to the more Westernized Shiites and to the Sunnis would have been a better leader. But to preserve the fiction, President Obama rescued al-Maliki who had been drummed out of office. Al-Maliki is despised for being inept and unreasonable. He even arrested his Sunni vice-premier.

    The ISIL/ISIS armies are winning Sunni towns because the Sunnis there and in the national government security forces are defecting.

    Meanwhile the Kurds, who have actually been able to maintain actual autonomy in the provinces they dominate, have not been bothered by the ISIL/ISIS armies. The Kurds would easily beat them if they tried to advance to any of the Kurdistan territories in Iraq.

    Both Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq have been cruel to Iraqi Christians. The Kurds are the ones who have been good to them.

    The most correct analyses of the Iraqi and Syrian situation urge letting Iraq become three states: Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish. We have published several analyses with this viewpoint. The latest was the Washington Post column of Fareed Zakaria “An enclave strategy” in yesterday’s issue.

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