The anti-ter­ror­ism op­er­a­tions take in An­bar, too

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Gazi Has­san

Be­cause Iraq is a coun­try which was formed by force, it is quite dif­fi­cult, even af­ter a hun­dred year, for it to re­main joined into a sin­gle na­tion given its re­li­gious and eth­nic com­po­nents. The prob­lem is that none of these com­po­nents can tol­er­ate the en­forced na­tion­hood im­posed on them by Bri­tain. In other words, the mat­ter is dis­ap­proved of twice over by the Kurds.

Nori Al-Ma­liki de­cided to launch an at­tack on An­bar and the deserts of Ra­madi at the be­gin­ning of last month. Both ar­eas face the same two sig­nif­i­cant is­sues: the first is the long-term protest of Sun­nis which erupted a year ago; the se­cond is the rise of ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­i­ties and Al-Qaeda af­fil­i­ated groups in the desert and ar­eas around Ra­madi. As the UN has con­firmed, ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­i­ties have es­ca­lated in 2013 and some 8,000 peo­ple have been killed as a con­se­quence.

One may ask whom Ma­liki and his force in­tended to strike: the Sun­nis or the ter­ror­ist groups? The ques­tion needs se­ri­ous study, be­cause, given the man­ner of the op­er­a­tion, its tim­ing and its tar­gets, it would ap­pear that Ma­liki in­tends to drive both the Sun­nis and Al-Qaeda into strik­ing. His move thus has both in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal goals.

Ex­ter­nally, the Iraqi PM Nori Ma­liki wants to force Syria and Iran into each other’s arms and con­vince the US that Al-Qaeda is pow­er­ful and that it should speed up its mil­i­tary sup­port to the Iraqi govern­ment. And as the Bri­tish me­dia has in­di­cated, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is con­sid­er­ing a re­turn to Iraq. In­ter­nally, his ac­tions are aimed at var­i­ous tar­gets:

He wants to strike the protest­ing Sun­nis and com­pel them to put an end to their protests and demon­stra­tions.

He seeks to draw the Shi­ites into be­liev­ing that Nori Al-Ma­liki and the Da’awa Party are their great­est pro­tec­tors and de­fend­ers.

The up­com­ing elec­tion is an­other core goal of the op­er­a­tion. On the one hand, it wins Shi­ite votes and wins over other Shi­ite frac­tions; on the other, it splits the Sun­nis and weak­ens their po­si­tion. Of course, it should also be borne in mind that if the Da’awa Party and the cur­rent Iraqi PM con­tinue to move back­ward, the other par­ties will fol­low suit.

The im­por­tant thing is that Ma­liki could evac­u­ate An­bar’s Dig­nity and Honor square, where demon­stra­tions had staged, and then claim to have at­tempted to raid the rad­i­cal groups af­fil­i­ated with the Is­lamic State in Iraq and the Le­vant (Daesh) in An­bar’s deserts. That is why the op­er­a­tion has taken in An­bar, too.

He or­dered the 44 Sunni MPs who have threat­ened to re­sign to aban­don their threats. In re­turn, he would with­draw his troops from the city. But what hap­pened then?

The rad­i­cal groups stated that they have half of Fal­luja city un­der their con­trol and have burned many po­lice sta­tions in An­bar. So is this op­er­a­tion based on safe foun­da­tions? Or is it just one sce­nario among many? Ma­liki is paving the way for ter­ror­ist pen­e­tra­tion in or­der to create an op­por­tu­nity to hit them and launch a mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion, while the Sun­nis also want to use those groups to un­der­mine se­cu­rity and weaken the power of the Bagh­dad govern­ment.

If this were the case, Nori Ma­liki would have, in prac­tice, to in­vade these cities, be­cause Al-Qaeda is the one with au­thor­ity over these ar­eas, which are not only a threat to the se­cu­rity of Iraq, but to Bashar As­sad’s regime as well. In choos­ing this course of ac­tion, Nori Ma­liki is also pro­vid­ing mil­i­tary, hu­man­i­tar­ian and lo­gis­ti­cal sup­port to rad­i­cal groups in Syria, so any op­er­a­tion of this kind should be wel­comed and sup­ported by the US, Iran, Syria and Lebanon’s Hizbul­lah.

The Speaker of the Iraqi par­lia­ment, Osama Al Nu­jaify, called for sup­port from Iran to end this catas­tro­phe, which means that Iran still plays an im­por­tant and ac­tive role in the re­gion. The gov­er­nor of Mo­sul, Atheel Al Nu­jaify, also raised the idea of es­tab­lish­ing a fed­eral Sunni re­gion again. The Kuwait­based news­pa­per, Al-Siyasa, re­vealed that Iran is sup­port­ing Ma­liki in this mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion to re­gain con­trol of the cross-bor­der ar­eas be­tween Iraq and Syria, and to lighten the pres­sure on Bashar As­sad’s regime.

The out­come of the April 30 elec­tion are cru­cial, and Nori Ma­liki is go­ing to have a tough fight. The elec­tions are ahead of him, and he needs to strengthen his force and mil­i­tary po­si­tion with US sup­port. He in­tends to re­strain the Sun­nis, and at the same time to weaken his Shi­ite op­po­nents which are Sadr, Am­mar Alha­keem and re­li­gious fig­ures. He also wants to stop the KRG de­vel­op­ing at its cur­rent level. As we said, he is mak­ing cru­cial steps, but it is hard to man­age all these dis­putes and keep ev­ery­thing in bal­ance. At­tempt­ing half of what he is cur­rently at­tempt­ing would be hard, be­cause Iraq is head­ing to­ward sec­tar­ian vi­o­lence be­tween Sun­nis and Shi­ites, and, in­deed, to­wards a Sunni-Shi­ite split. All the signs in­di­cate that a flood of events and changes lie ahead.

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