Future of Iraq wavering amid difficult challenges post IS



Sun, 10 Dec 2017 - 07:00 GMT


Sun, 10 Dec 2017 - 07:00 GMT

Members of the Iraqi Army's 9th Armored Division with an ISIS flag, claimed after fighting in western Mosul, June 17, 2017- Reuters

Members of the Iraqi Army's 9th Armored Division with an ISIS flag, claimed after fighting in western Mosul, June 17, 2017- Reuters

CAIRO – 10 December 2017: Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi declared Saturday the end of its “war against IS in Iraq,” considering it a “great victory,” while experts believe this “great victory” is fragile as long as the creation of Islamic State (IS) terrorist group’s reasons have not been eradicated.

Iraq has engaged into a fierce war against IS and various militant groups since 2014 until Abadi declared the “defeat of IS” on the military level.

First of all, the reasons behind the creation of ISIS [Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] must be identified so that the eradication of this fundamental group will be successfully achieved. Egypt Today sheds light on likely reasons behind IS creation as follows:

• Discrimination of Shiite-led government of Nouri al-Maliki

• Revenge attitude of Shiites against Sunni residents in various districts

• Unfair distribution of oil revenues, in addition to economic and social deteriorating circumstances

• Spread of corruption and lack of negotiations with Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) post-Saddam era

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (C) holds an Iraqi flag as he announces victory over Islamic State in Mosul, Iraq, July 10, 2017- Reuters

Abadi stressed his upcoming battle will be against corruption, which deems a “natural extension of liberation of land and men.”

Kuwait revealed in august that it started contacting the World Bank and other countries to prepare for hosting a donors' conference next year on rebuilding Iraq. The donors' conference is expected to be held in first quarter of 2018, most probably in February.


“ISIS won’t disappear,” expert in Iraqi affairs in Geneva Mohamed Weld Mohammadu told AFP on Sunday, adding that the military defeat is nonsufficient to eradicate the supporters of ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

“Recent terrorist attacks revealed that most of militants had headed to desert areas after their defeat in many inhabitant cities,” Mohammadu said.

He stressed the reconstruction process must include social rehabilitation as the “social aspects are more important than infrastructure and military ones when it comes to ideological radicalism.”

Karim Emile Bitar , Senior Research Fellow, Institute for International and Strategic Relations (IRIS) and Associate Professor of International Relations, University Saint Joseph in Beyrouth- Via his Linkdin Profile

Karim Emile Bitar, Senior Fellow at the Institute for International and Strategic Affairs in Paris (IRIS), told AFP on Sunday that proxies and weakness of decentralized governments would be able to turn over the militant radicalism in Iraq.

“Feeling of suppression which many Sunnis have will remain a potential threat and rebellion for a new Jihadist group,” Bitar manifested according to the AFP report published on Sunday.

Origins of ISIS

Saddam Hussein was accused of humiliating and suppressing the Shiites in Iraq, as a result the Shiites have contributed positively to the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. All the rulers of Iraq since the emergence of its modern state in the 1920s came from the Sunni sect, although in general Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis lived in peace before 2003.

A U.S. soldier, Corporall Edward Chin, scaling a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad and draping the Stars and Stripes and a noose over the black metal visage of the ousted despot. The rope was used to tear down the ousted leader's statue - Reuters/GORAN TOMASEVIC

Various extremist groups emerged and started operating in Sunni areas in western, central and northern Iraq where the Sunni inhabitants suffered from oppression of the Shiite mayors and rulers, after holding the first general elections on June 28, 2004 following the fall of Saddam Hussein.

The interim president installed was Sheikh Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer, and the interim prime minister was Iyad Allawi, a man who had been a CIA asset according to former U.S. intelligence officials.

Allawi’s government was described as anti-Sunni rule, which had sought to vengeance from all Sunnis on behalf of Saddam Hussein. Therefore, many rebellion groups were created to fight against the Iraqi national government.

This sectarian behavior against the Sunni Iraqis had given a justification to extremists to brain-wash many Iraqis who belong to the Sunni sect, eluding them that the so-called Sunni-dominated Islamic caliphate would restore the Sunnis in power.


The missing of containment of Saddam’s remnants and senior allies was another reason behind the current mess in Iraq. The Egyptian revolution which erupted in 2011 against former President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak made a fetal mistake when it did not allow embracing Mubarak regime’s remnants who declared their hands were free of blood which shed during the uprising at Tahrir and other governments’ squares.

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi gesture with the "Rabaa" sign during a protest in Al-Haram street, in Cairo December 13, 2013- REUTERS/Stringer

The Egyptian mistake brought the Muslim Brotherhood group in power, although it was only one year before the Egyptians overthrew the Brotherhood via million-man demonstrations at streets. The same mistake occurred in the Iraqi case as the embracement of Saddam’s non-criminal leaders would have changed the fate of Iraq.

Unity is a must for building and reconstructing devastated areas. Fighting together only brings more enemies to the battlefield.

Future of Hashid Shaabi

The Shiite-led Hashid Shaabi forces [Popular Mobilization Forces] which emerged in 2014 upon Shiite initiative launched by Sayyed Ali Hosseini Sistani to combat ISIS in Iraqi cities.

Hashid_Shabbi_photo (1)
Iraqi Shi'ite Muslims from Hashid Shaabi (Popular Mobilization) march during a parade marking the annual al-Quds Day, or Jerusalem Day, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in Baghdad, Iraq July 1, 2016 - REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily/Files

In November 2016, the Iraqi Parliament drafted a law to place Hashid Shaabi militias under the government control led by Prime Minister Hadair Abadi.

AFP revealed that the Hashid Shaabi includes over 110 thousand soldiers, while experts speculate its man-force is between 60 and 140 thousand.

“The Future of the Hashid Shaabi militias is determined by the political balance which should put an end to the cold proxy between Iran and Saudi Arabia on the Iraqi territory,” Bitar added.



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