Sunday, June 28, 2009


"Don't worry if some security breach occurs here or there", Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki assured in a speech just recently. "They are trying to destabilize the situation, but we will confront them." Speaking of al-Qaeda in Iraq's attempts to wreak sectarian violence in the country, and to encourage participation by the Sunni Iraqi population, in attacking the Shia who just happen to hold the balance of power in the new Iraqi administration.

The Sunni minority, under former dictator Saddam Hussein's Baath party were in the ascendancy, with the majority Shia population kept in thrall to the will of the country's tyrant. Civil war was barely averted in 2006 when sectarian bloodshed roiled the country, from Baghdad streets to Samarra's Al-Askari shrine. And although the administration has not yet dealt with issues on power sharing and oil revenues between Sunni, Shia and Kurds, they believe they are ready to rule without U.S. assistance.

A truck bomb exploded outside Kirkuk, claiming 75 victims, just hours after the Prime Minister made his confident announcement. Al-Qaeda was to blame, of course, intent on their malevolent course, "a plan that aims to awaken sectarianism, create chaos, abort the political process and prevent Iraqi people from standing on their own feet." It was, of course, the American troop surge that claimed to have beaten al-Qaeda's influence in Iraq.

Al-Qaeda's vicious brutality affronted the Sunni Iraqis they hoped to bring over to their side, and instead Sunni tribal leaders, with the encouragement of the U.S. formed their own militias, the Sunni Arab Awakening Council, that coordinated with U.S. troops to successfully battle al-Qaeda and beat back their advances. A year ago the U.S. delivered the Awakening Council militias that they helped train and supply with weapons, to the Iraqi government.

The Shia-led government promised that they would give due respect to and incorporate the Awakening Council militias into the country's regular army. Insisting that first they must surrender their arms, and that their leaders would have to stand back, and that they would invest trust only in the younger members of the Sunni Awakening Council. A year later, all those conditions met, yet the government has taken no positive steps to integrate the Sunnis into the army.

This is a mostly Shia-led administration in Iraq deliberately excluding the minority Sunnis, and this does not bode well for the future. Yet the Prime Minister identifies the July 1 withdrawal of American troops from his unsettled country a triumph, a "great victory", against 'foreign occupiers'. As American troops prepare to leave, the country is assailed time and again by suicide bombers. Those terror attacks have brought the death toll to almost 200 since June 10.

And another seven bombings in one day alone, later in June, with 70 people killed, 158 injured, in a crowded market in northeastern Baghdad. Some triumph, some cause for celebration.

Labels: , ,

Follow @rheytah Tweet