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» 08/20/2010
IRAQ
As the Americans go home, Iraqis get ready for civil war and the country’s division
by Joseph Mahmoud
The US decision to pull out its last combat troops will not be met by a sigh of relief in Iraq. In fact, it might lead to the country’s permanent division into three entities, one Shia, one Sunni and one Kurdish. Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan and Turkey are deeply involved in Iraq’s affairs, preventing the establishment of a strong government at a time when the United States appears no longer interested in the country’s fate. An Iraqi intellectual vents his frustrations.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) – After seven years of war, the last US combat troops are leaving Iraq. This, apparently, brings to an end operation “Iraqi freedom”. However, if we look at how they are pulling out, it would seem the Americans do not care whether Iraq has any freedom or not. In the country, meanwhile, everyone expects it to plunge into civil war and break up.

For the past six months, Iraqi leaders have failed to form a new government. Iraq’s neighbours, especially Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria, are increasingly meddling in its affairs, exerting undue influence on the country’s leaders. One of them, Prime Minister al-Maliki, said yesterday that his successor has to be Shia. However, talks on a national unity government are at a standstill.

Personally, I think the Americans never tried to help Iraqi leaders settle their differences to form a strong government that could protect Iraq and its people from the grip of terrorism and its abhorrent acts. The latest attack in Bagdad on Tuesday took the lives of 59 people and injured another 100 or more, but every day, every day, there are stories about killings and abductions.

The media have reported al-Qaeda’s claims. The latest lunacy was claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq, which said, “We struck a group of Shias and apostates who sold their faith for money and became a tool of war against the Iraqi people.” In fact, al-Qaeda has nothing to do with it. The attacks are political and designed to intimidate the population.

Against this background, the United States has decided to withdraw seven years after the fall of Saddam Hussein. During this period, they destroyed everything. Indeed, Iraq is still subject to Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter. It has no government, no services, no water, and no electrical power. The only thing it has in great abundance is jobless people.

What will happen after the US pulls out?

Some analysts expect Iran to rule indirectly the Shia-dominated south through the Dawa party. Shias already have an army of militias.

Saudi Arabia, Syria and Jordan will probably try to work with what is left of the Ba‘ath party to stop them. Sunnis too have their own militia armies (called al-sahwa, the awakening).

The Kurds with their US-backed pershmergas are the best organised. They will get into the act as well.

Iraq will be divided up into three regions, a Shia area in the south, a Sunni area in the middle with the provinces of al-Anbar, Salahuddin, Mosul and parts of Baghdad, and a Kurdish area in the north, covering Sulaymaniyah, Erbil, Dohuk and parts of Kirkuk (if not the whole city).

Turkey will also be present, claiming that it is protecting Iraq’s Turkmen, and fighting the Kurdish rebels of the PKK.

Iraq shall be no more; its people, divided along ethnic and religious lines, no longer of any interest to the United States. Yes, the Americans are leaving, in their place, a weak government in a country on the verge of civil war.


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See also
11/28/2008 IRAQ - UNITED STATES
Archbishop Sako: vote on U.S. troop withdrawal conceals Iraq's "fragile equilibrium"
03/03/2005 SYRIA - LEBANON
Russia and US press Syria to pull its troops out of Lebanon
09/25/2008 IRAQ
Baghdad approves electoral law, sidestepping question of Kirkuk
07/31/2008 IRAQ
Christians and Muslims show solidarity for Kirkuk attack victims
11/17/2008 IRAQ – UNITED STATES
Uncertain parliamentary vote hanging over US troop withdrawal plan

Editor's choices
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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