Breaking: The Iraqi Regime Under Siege

Paulo Casaca, board member of the European Iraqi Freedom Association, shares three tips on how the West should respond to unrest in Iraq.


Credit: AP

BRUSSELS, Belgium — As events are unfolding I advance here three points for Western decision makers to consider.

1. Why did Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s troops withdraw?

Maliki claimed 800 rebels could have not put 30,000 military running out of Mosul. He accused a conspiracy supported by foreign powers for the military withdrawal.

As the Iraqi army also left Kirkuk city without a shot being fired, there is ground for taking this Maliki claim as founded.

Although Maliki lost the 2010 elections he continued as the Iraqi Prime Minister for he directly controlled security forces and had the blessing of his paymasters in Tehran. He then bribed, silenced or eliminated his opponents to remain in power.

The move of so important parts of the Iraqi army can only mean there are strong forces in power circles that want to replace him and perhaps no longer believe to be possible to keep Iraq as a state.

2. Who are the insurgents?

Maliki forces – although trained and armed by the US – are basically a militia recruited and kept on a sectarian basis and behave as an occupying force. Maliki destroyed the local Iraqi self-defense forces the US had intelligently created against the exactions of terrorist outfits

Western mainstream press – following uncritically reports from official Iraqi or Iranian leaning press – has presented so far the uprising as the single work of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). Only recently has the West acknowledged there are multiple armed groups, ISIS not being the most significant one. This is a pattern already seen in the early stage of the Syrian uprising.

3. Next move

Will Maliki manage to recover enough clout in his armed forces to counter-attack? Will the Iraqi uprising fall pray of ISIS? Will the war move to Baghdad or retreat to the Sunni hinterland?

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What we can say for certain is that a different Western policy will be a great help. The West must stop supporting the problem and start supporting the solution.

Maliki imposed a sectarian, fanatic destructive and highly corrupt tyranny. This is the main Iraqi problem. To gather representatives of the originally diverse nation and work with them on how to put on the road again an independent, multi-ethnic, multi-religious secular country is the only solution.

Paulo Casaca, Member of the Board of the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA). Read other articles by Paulo.