Sunday, July 06, 2014

Iraq in Crisis - Part 2

In this sec­ond part of Revolution Observers spe­cial report, look­ing at the cri­sis in Iraq, the win­ners and losers from the cur­rent upris­ing are analysed 
Despite their lim­ited role in the cur­rent upris­ing in Iraq, ISIS has ben­e­fit­ted from the events sub­stan­tially. The expo­sure it has been given by the inter­na­tional media has aided it’s inter­na­tional recruit­ment effort. It is unde­ni­able that there are Mus­lims who believe fight­ing against the West­ern sup­ported regimes estab­lished in the Mus­lims world by the colo­nial pow­ers (pri­mar­ily Amer­ica and Britain) is the cor­rect path towards revival of the Islamic Nation (Ummah). The suc­cess of ISIS in Iraq increases the appeal of this orga­ni­za­tion to these Mus­lims. In addi­tion, it has been reported that ISIS has been able to cap­ture sub­stan­tial amounts of highly sophis­ti­cated weapons dur­ing the raid on Mosul – Amer­i­can Army sup­plied Humvee’s and Jeeps, tanks, anti-tank rock­ets and even heli­copters. [1] ISIS is also said to have raided the Cen­tral Bank offices in Mosul, tak­ing off with almost $500 mil­lion worth of Iraqi dinars. [2] There­fore, the upris­ing in Anbar has been a great suc­cess for ISIS from both a pro­pa­ganda and mil­i­tary perspective.
How­ever, ISIS is not the only party ben­e­fit­ting from the cur­rent state of affairs in Iraq.
In his inter­view with Al Ara­biyya, Anbar tribal leader Sheikh Ali Hatem al Suleiman stated that if the demands of the tribes were not met by the Iraqi gov­ern­ment in Bag­dad, Iraq would have to be bro­ken up into a Kur­dish north, Sunni cen­ter and Shi’a south. [3] The lead­ers of the Iraqi Kurds – who made use of the unrest in Anbar by expelling the Iraqi gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Kirkuk, the emo­tional cap­i­tal of Iraqi Kur­dis­tan and home of the fourth largest oil field in Iraq [4] – have come out with even stronger words of sup­port for a break up of Iraq. Kur­dish Prime Min­is­ter Nechir­van Barzani, nephew of the Kur­dis­tan Pres­i­dent Mas­soud Barzani, said that after the events in Mosul Iraq could no longer stay together. He sug­gested the cre­ation of an autonomous Sunni Arab region, sim­i­lar to the exist­ing autonomous Kur­dish region, as a way out of the cri­sis. [5]
The call for a break-up of Iraq was first uttered by Joe Biden, pres­i­dent Obama’s vice pres­i­dent, in a New York Times opin­ion piece from March 2006 named “Unity through Auton­omy in Iraq”. [6] Vice-president Biden is said to remain in favor of what has been called the “Bosnia-option” for Iraq until today [7], and there is ample evi­dence that this in fact is the longer term Amer­i­can plan for the country.
For exam­ple, while Amer­ica now crit­i­cizes the Iraqi Prime Min­is­ter Nouri Al-Maliki for hav­ing caused the unrest in the coun­try through sec­tar­ian poli­cies, it was the US who put him in power. Shortly after the United Iraqi Alliance party won the gen­eral elec­tions of 2006 its leader Ibrahim al Jaa­fari was forced from power. The Amer­i­cans, through their ambas­sador to Iraq Zal­may Khalilzad and the CIA, then played an active role in the selec­tion of a new leader for the party. This lead to Nouri Al Maliki being appointed as the new leader of the United Iraqi Alliance party, which auto­mat­i­cally made him the first Prime Min­is­ter of post-war Iraq. [8] Dur­ing the 2010 elec­tions Amer­ica actu­ally renewed their sup­port for Al Maliki. Although los­ing the pop­u­lar vote to Iyad Allawi he nev­er­the­less stayed on as Prime Min­is­ter, a feat that could not have hap­pened with­out the sup­port of Amer­ica. [9] All along Amer­ica was aware that Al Maliki’s was oppress­ing the Sun­nis and that this was caus­ing resent­ment in Anbar. [10] Nev­er­the­less, it con­tin­ued to work with him on the impor­tant mat­ters, only gen­tly rebuk­ing him for his sec­tar­i­an­ism dur­ing the run up to the 2014 elec­tions. [11]
When the inevitable unrest finally began in Anbar, Al Maliki approached the Amer­i­cans for mil­i­tary sup­port to sup­press it. But the Amer­i­cans refused. This was effec­tively the first time Amer­ica took their hands off of Al Maliki and it was at a crit­i­cal moment. Deci­sive action at the begin­ning of the rebel­lion could have pre­vented it from spread­ing, ensur­ing the integrity of the coun­try would be main­tained. By sud­denly leav­ing Al Maliki to deal with mat­ters on his own, Amer­ica effec­tively opened the road to country-wide sec­tar­ian vio­lence. [12]
This indi­cates that Amer­i­can used Al Maliki all along. They turned a blind eye when he set into motion the poli­cies that would cause civil strife in Iraq. Then, when the unrest started that was unavoid­able con­sid­er­ing these poli­cies, it refused to sup­port him, ensur­ing that the sit­u­a­tion would worsen. By leav­ing Al Maliki to deal with the sit­u­a­tion him­self, Amer­ica directed the devel­op­ment of the cir­cum­stances to the point where all par­ties would see the break-up of the coun­try as the only way out.
In this sit­u­a­tion Amer­ica is now let­ting go of Al Maliki by start­ing the call for him to resign [13] such that a new gov­ern­ment can be formed that pro­ceeds on the implic­itly agreed upon solu­tion, i.e. that will orga­nize the breakup of Iraq with sup­port from the par­ties concerned.
There­fore, the cur­rent unrest in Iraq can be said to fur­ther an Amer­i­can plan to break up Iraq, with the aim of weak­en­ing it such that coun­try which was once the most pow­er­ful in the entire Middle-East will lose the abil­ity to ever threaten the Amer­i­can inter­ests in the region.
The losers in the cur­rent uprising
Obvi­ously, the Mus­lims in Iraq are los­ing, and this applies to the Kurds, Sun­nis and Shia. A break up of Iraq would sub­stan­tially weaken all of them and leave them as pawns in the hands of the colo­nial­ist nations, whereas on a united basis they could chal­lenge the colo­nial­ists and their aspirations.
Another loser in the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion sits across the bor­der, how­ever. It is the rev­o­lu­tion­ary move­ment fight­ing for Khi­lafah in Syria. ISIS has been play­ing a highly sus­pi­cious role in the Syr­ian upris­ing. Orig­i­nally it went into Syria to sup­port the upris­ing there. How­ever, just as it had done in Anbar it quickly turned the local pop­u­la­tion against it. Rather than fight­ing the al-Assad regime it began to focus on con­trol­ling cer­tain parts of Syria, being con­tent with the tyrant Syr­ian regime remain­ing in place. In the areas it brought under its con­trol it enforced rules that felt as oppres­sion to the local pop­u­la­tion, hurt­ing the sup­port of the Syr­ian peo­ple for the rev­o­lu­tion that is crit­i­cal to its suc­cess. And as it had done in Anbar, it also began fight­ing the other rev­o­lu­tion­ary groups. In addi­tion to all this which effec­tively trans­lates into indi­rect sup­port for the Al Assad regime, it is rumored ISIS has also been pro­vid­ing direct sup­port to Dam­as­cus through the sale of oil and elec­tric­ity. [14]
Because the stated aim of ISIS is the re-establishment of the Islamic State Al Khi­lafah, many media out­lets have started dis­cussing the pos­si­bil­ity of a new Caliphate emerg­ing in the region fol­low­ing the hype around the ISIS in the cur­rent unrest in Iraq. Based on what is presently known, it is highly unlikely the cur­rent events in Iraq will have such far reach­ing consequences.
ISIS has not clar­i­fied which sys­tems it intends to imple­ment if and when it estab­lishes the Khi­lafah. It remains totally unclear, there­fore, how ISIS intends to man­age the polit­i­cal, eco­nomic and soci­etal affairs of the peo­ple, or how this will be dif­fer­ent from the ways the cur­rent nation-states man­age these affairs. The utter silence from the side of ISIS on these impor­tant topic leads to doubt as to whether the orga­ni­za­tion actu­ally pos­sesses the deep insights in Islam that are required to for­mu­late poli­cies in these areas.
In addi­tion, in the instances where ISIS did artic­u­late poli­cies for its Islamic State, its opin­ions have gone against the estab­lished Islamic rul­ings in these matters.
For exam­ple, the move­ment con­sid­ers con­trol over an area as suf­fi­cient jus­ti­fi­ca­tion to declare Khi­lafah (which is why it does not see any issue with call­ing itself “Islamic State”, since it con­trols an area how­ever big or small) and it believes the usage of force is allowed to estab­lish this control.
How­ever, this opin­ion is not sup­ported by the life of Prophet Mohammed (saw) and his (saw) work to estab­lish the first Islamic State. Prophet Mohammed (saw) worked with peo­ple with author­ity to con­vince them to hand it over to Islam. At no time dur­ing his (saw) efforts to estab­lish the first Islamic State did he (saw) use any kind of force against peo­ple to pres­sure them to accept him (saw) as their prophet and polit­i­cal leader. This clar­i­fies that one of the require­ments for the dec­la­ra­tion of the Islamic State is sup­port in the con­cerned area for this dec­la­ra­tion, i.e. it requires not just con­trol over an area as ISIS holds.
Another exam­ple is the method­ol­ogy for appoint­ing the Khal­i­fah who leads the Islamic State. ISISholds that since it con­trols and area, and since it appointed a leader, every Mus­lim is Islam­i­cally obliged to give their oath of alle­giance (bay’ah) to this leader. A refusal to do so is taken by ISIS as a sign of hypocrisy or dis­be­lief. Dur­ing his work to estab­lish the Islamic State Prophet Mohammed (saw) never demanded an oath of alle­giance. Rather, he worked to con­vince peo­ple to give him (saw) their oath of alle­giance. And the same dur­ing the time of the Rightly Guided Khulafa’ah after him (saw). Upon the death of one of them they allowed the peo­ple or the peo­ple of power and influ­ence amongst them to pro­pose a new Khal­i­fah and they did not respond to the first pro­posal by forc­ing every­one else to accept it.
Since it is nec­es­sary for the one who wants to estab­lish the Islamic State to pos­sess a cor­rect and deep under­stand­ing of what Khi­lafah really is, and since ISIS has not shown to pos­sess this cor­rect and deep under­stand­ing, it is highly unlikely that from the ISIS efforts in Iraq and Syria a new Khi­lafah will emerge. Other groups will have to facil­i­tate this.
Part 1 — Iraq in Crisis

[1] “Al Qaeda mil­i­tants cap­ture US Black Hawk heli­copters in Iraq”,–06-10/al-qaeda-militants-capture-us-blackhawk-helicopters-iraq
[2] “Al-Qaeda Jihadis Loot Over $400 Mil­lion From Mosul Cen­tral Bank, Seize Saddam’s Home­town”,–06-11/al-qaeda-jihadis-loot-over-400-million-mosul-central-bank-seize-saddams-hometown
[3] “Ten­sions Rise in Bagh­dad with Raid on Offi­cial”, The New York Times,
[4] “Iraq cri­sis: Kurds dream of sep­a­rate state as their forces seize Kirkuk”, The Inde­pen­dent,
[5] “Mil­i­tants clash with Pesh­merga in Iraq’s Kirkuk: tribal sheikh”,
[7] “Bush-Era Advo­cates Of Split­ting Iraq Into Three Parts Say: I Told You So”, Buz­zFeed,
[9] “Sup­port For Iraq’s Maliki Puts U.S., Iran In Same Camp”, NPR,
[10] “World Report 2014: Iraq”, Human Rights Watch,
[12] “US Said to Rebuff Iraqi Requests to Strike Mil­i­tants”, The New York Times,
[13] “U.S. Sig­nals Iraq’s Maliki Should Go”, Wall Street Jour­nal,
[14] “Syria’s Assad accused of boost­ing al-Qaeda with secret oil deals”, The Tele­graph,

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