Another fall of Iraq
The dramatic developments in Mosul caused Iraq new serious crises, especially after the defeat of the Iraqi army. The army surrendered and retreated from the Mosul Province as well as Tikrit. Mosul is only 405 km away from Bagdad and is one hour driving from the Kurdistan Region’s capital of Erbil. ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Sham), which is a radical and terrorist organization, has taken power in the city. Practically they’ve become rulers of the city while over 400 thousand people have fled to the Kurdistan Region in fear of the growing violence and for the safety of their lives, including Arabs, Kurds, Christians, Ezidies and Shabaks. They’re living in terrible humanitarian conditions.
Factors are many, but we can sum them up in some specific points:
Firstly: what is going on is strongly related to the establishment of Iraq by the British in the 1930s.
Secondly: the sectarian conflict has reached a level which can no longer be reversed between the Sunnis and the Shiites. And what’s now happening in Mosul and Tikrit and has been happening for over a year in Anbar and Fallujah, is the real aspect of the conflict. It is a process of dissolving the forced annexation of Iraq’s components of ethnic and religious groups.
Thirdly: Mosul’s development demonstrates that the regional power's interests and conflicts play a crucial role in determining the future and destiny of Iraq, which is also the reflection of the geo-sectarian division of the area between Sunnis and Shiites, and also is a part of the area’s extension of crises and problems.
Fourth: the radical Islamist groups supported by Baath remainders and former officers of the dissolved Iraqi army after 2003, then the Sunnis inside Mosul, who have always felt oppressed by an army full of Shiite soldiers and high-ranking officers and some formerly Baathists who Maliki was using against the Sunnis are extremely irritated and angry.
Fifth: army’s defeat and retreat means the fall of the state’s system, and the state’s failure in fulfilling its duties in the management of the state’s affairs. That is why the dramatic events of Mosul exactly mean the fall of the state.
Sixth: the events reveal that the Iraqi army and police for whom hundreds of millions of dollars have been annually allocated, and have owned powerful weapons and military equipment are not ready to face 800 fighters of ISIS and could easily be defeated. This indicates that the army has been reestablished on a wrong and unscientific basis.
Seventh: The US left Iraq with a sea of conflicts and crises. Today, the regional countries and the radical Islamist groups can undeterred interfere and get involved in the internal Iraqi affairs. The country is under the threat of authoritarianism and monopolization as well. This is the reason why it’s natural to see the crises reaching that serious and unexpected level.
Eighth: Nuri al-Maliki intends to demonstrate that he can take out the thorn in his flesh, but he couldn’t admit that this kind of defeat of an army means the lose of his both hands. As a psychological reaction and his sense of snobbishness, he doesn’t want to ask help from Kurdistan Region, and at the same time wants to demonstrate that all faults he’s done are right and never need reconsidering his wrong policies. On the contrary, he superciliously threatened that he’ll punish all those responsible for the surrender and the retreat of his army. And he himself is the number one in charge that no one can question.
Ninth: The Iraqi Parliament failed to declare the state of emergency through which Maliki intended to enjoy an absolute power after invalidating the constitution.
Tenth: The Kurdistan Region’s Peshmarge forces have controlled all the Kurdistani areas out of the Kurdistan Region, and haven't made decision to confront ISIS, because Bagdad doesn’t want to compromise with the Peshmarge. The Peshmarge’s budget has been cut for years and the Kurdistan’s budget also has been cut since the beginning of the year.
Eleventh: the countries providing military aid to Iraq, especially the US, should reconsider this matter as the weapons given to Iraq are all seized by the ISIS fighters.
Twelfth: this is a defeat, a political and a military defeat. Maliki should think of the national unity of the political parties instead of breaking up and sundering. What has happened was a fear and would keep the door of new fear and the new political alienation in Iraq open, the crises have reached a new level and direction which are outcomes of Bagdad’s authoritarian and self-imposing policies.
Thirteenth: we should bear in mind that the role Iran plays in these developments is pivotal. For returning and maintaining the balance to Nuri Maliki’s government who is allied with Iran and Syria, Iran is expected to take part and provide military and logistic aid when asked. In that moment, Iraq would turn into an arena of a wider regional war. This dire scenario is burgeoning now. It will put Sunni-Arabic countries and Turkey in a decisive conjunction; even Europe and U.S have to make their own crucial decision.
ISIS wants to take over the strategic locations in Sunni areas. It wants to take over the weapons, military bases, economic resources and the main road to Bagdad. They intend to head towards Bagdad. In this case, instead of planning to retake Mosul and the other areas, Maliki’s forces should plan to maintain the security and the protection of the capital Baghdad. According to this strategy, a political and military mind is behind ISIS’s attacks. ISIS doesn’t intend to kill and slaughter or raise people’s fears. It also doesn’t want to take revenge on Sunnis backing Baghdad and confront the Kurdistan Region and Maliki’s forces simultaneously. This is a kind of a new strategy in the politics and the mentality of this group in taking over areas.
We should bear in mind that ISIS’s attacks are highly depending on propaganda and a psychological war to conquer new areas and defeat Malik’s army. As the Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari said: “What’s happened is practically defeat and a setback.”