The Syrian Conflict and Sunni Radicalism in Lebanon       Civil War Drums Beat Louder in Iraq as the U.S. policy is just hit and miss       Resolution of Anbar crisis requires security, political coordination       US and Iran offers support to stabilize Iraq       My predictions for 2014 Middle East Outlook       British government will reportedly declassify Bush-Blair talks from Iraq War run-up        70 jurnalists were killed on the job around the world in 2013       US sends missiles, drones to help Iraqis Fight With Extremists       Iraq’s Tangled Foreign Interests and Relations        Divided Iraqi leaders shirk responsibility
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2014-01-09 08:52:00
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Civil War Drums Beat Louder in Iraq as the U.S. policy is just hit and miss
Washington/ UrukPress
Civil War Drums Beat Louder in Iraq as the U.S. policy is just hit and miss

 


Civil War Drums Beat Louder in Iraq as the U.S. policy is just hit and miss


The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, an al Qaeda branch in the Middle East, killed 21 people in a suicide attack at a military recruiting center in Baghdad today. The attack was launched as the ISIS continues to control Fallujah, parts of Ramadi, and other areas in Anbar province.
Today's attack takes place as the Iraqi government is contemplating military action to retake the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi from the ISIS, which seized Anbar's two largest cities last week. Although Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki initially said the military would move in to retake the cities, he is now encouraging Anbar's tribes to fight the ISIS.

These next weeks will give the people of Iraq an opportunity. They can demonstrate that they reject violence, terrorism, and the nihilistic Islamism of al Qaeda and all sectarian violence, or they can continue the kind of violence and terrorism that killed over 8,000 Iraqis in 2013. 


The fighting in Anbar Province, Maliki continued blamed of  the Sunnis for al-Qaida's resurgence in Fallujah and other locations in Anbar Province, do not threaten the government in Baghdad, rather it threatens to fragment Iraq.
Anbar's much-discussed tribes are currently on both sides of this equation, with some clearly aligned with Baghdad, others fighting alongside al Qaeda and ISIS, and still others trying to maintain distance from both or to al Qaeda on their own."

The Iraq war has a grim sequel: American limits come as the killing in Anbar province rages. The  resurgence by Islamic militants in western Iraq has reminded the world that the war is anything but over. What the US military ended its presence in Iraq, the fighting did not stop when the last troops left in 2011; it simply stopped being a daily concern for most Americans.
 
 
        
Fallujah remains fully under the control of the ISIS and allied tribes one week after Iraqi forces were withdrawn from the city. Half of Ramadi is still said to be controlled by the ISIS. Iraqi forces have blockaded the cities, and in Fallujah, troops are launching artillery strikes into civilian areas thought to be held by the ISIS.
In addition to Fallujah and Ramadi, the city of Karma, which is just east of Fallujah, has also fallen to the ISIS, according to The New York Times. Iraqi security forces have "isolated the Karma area ... from Abu Ghraib," a district in the western part of Anbar province, "by emplacing concrete block to separate them apart," the National Iraqi News Agency reported yesterday.
If the fighting continues, as seems likely, peace might be restored eventually by negotiating another autonomous region for Sunni Arabs in Anbar Province, patterned after the Kurdish autonomous region. Iraq would advance as a federal state, instead of the unitary state system that the US tried to establish.  
The ISIS-led seizure of Fallujah does not appear sustainable, they realize they cannot hold territory against more modern and better equipped forces. But there will be more and worse troubles in Anbar. That is because the Shiite-dominated al Maliki government has disenfranchised the Sunni Arab population. Inclusiveness is not part of the Iraqi understanding of winning elections and majority rule Thus, there will be more violence and killing. The Sunni Arabs in Anbar and four other provinces are in revolt, but the second round of Iraq's civil war is just beginning.
The images of al-Qaida militants surging back into cities that were secured at an enormous sacrifice and the Civil war lingers in Iraq raise new questions about whether the U.S. should have left troops there.  The eruption of violence in Iraq is threatening to undo much of what American troops appeared to have accomplished before they withdrew, putting the country’s stability on the line and raising the specter of a new civil war in a region already buckling under the strain of the conflict in Syria.
 The mistakes and costs of past U.S. involvement and the current frustrations with the Maliki government are good reasons for the uncertain tone, signaling the US unwilling to be directly involved in any military engagement in Iraq. Any direct involvement will require higher-level engagement with Iraq and more involvement with our regional allies, both of which are difficult. The alternative, however, is that terrorism in and emanating from Iraq grows in the years to come.
 Because Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki still hasn’t done enough to prove that he can be trusted with heavy U.S. weapons such as Apache helicopters, the Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno said Tuesday the United States should "wait and see" before sending U.S. troops to Iraq, where Al Qaeda militants recently seized parts of two cities.

Like everything else about Iraq, this is a tragic and confusing story. But two points seem clear: First, the US policy continues to allow the sectarian Shiite government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to undo many of the gains made against al-Qaeda; and second, Iran continues to  wage a brilliant covert-action campaign that turned Maliki and Iraq into virtual clients of Tehran — and in the process alienate Sunnis and push them toward extremism.

Various news agencies