The moving sand between the two rivers


Al-Quds Al-Arabi – July 09, 2020, issue 9959, p. 21

With the announcement of the appointment of Mustafa Al-Kadhimi as head of the new Iraqi government, various scenarios began to be adopted and dreams were drawn beyond any reality or even knowledge of the past and present of this tired and exhausted country from the battles of others in its lands. Baghdad, the city of culture, civilisation and influence a few centuries ago, is now on the threshold of another chapter in a play, or rather an experiment by those trying to strike a balance between Tehran’s rooted influence during the last seventeen years in the state and geography of Iraq and American politics trying to change the zero equation by adding more zeros to it.

In the midst of this, there is a new generation that took to the streets last October, proclaiming its revolution against religious authority, its rejection of reality and its dream of freedom and democracy. This complex scene prompts us as observers of the conditions of the Middle East in general to be honest with ourselves and with the Iraqi people and to give an honest answer even if it is dark. Is Mr. Al-Kadhimi a bridge to real change or will the bitterness of reality continue to prevail in the future of the land of Babylon?

The complex Iraqi scene

To understand the complex picture of Iraq and its interpretations, we can divide it into three files, the first of which is the conflict in Baghdad between a government and the militias from whose womb it was born, and which see themselves greater than Iraq by virtue of their ideological, logistical and military affiliation with a cross-border Iranian project. The second is the Sunnis of Iraq between the state persecution and the ideology of jihadist groups and the third is the intra-Kurdish conflict in northern Iraq.

Baghdad

Baghdad is currently experiencing one of its worst periods in history. Following the US invasion of Iraq at the turn of the last century, the US lobby chose to stop the bloodshed of its soldiers in the hands of the Iraqi resistance through an illegal marriage between American Republicans and Tehran radicals to form a state that has no power, and offers nothing good in the country.

A state that the militias Militias are wreaking havoc. Evidence abounds, from Jurf al-Sakhr’s jails to mass graves in Anbar, to days ago, when an Iraqi militia attacked an Iraqi government counterterrorism center, forcing it to release its members. This the real translation for the situation in Baghdad far from Washington-backed Iraqi politicians who sell illusions to Iraqi youth with stylized addresses and new names. With regard to the options available to this government at this stage, it is essential that it demonstrate its good and genuine intention to exercise its influence in the militia prisons in the provinces of Anbar, Salahuddin and Nineveh, which are home to tens or hundreds of thousands of kidnapped Iraqi Sunnis without they have no fault other than their religious approach in front of militias built with religious slogans. If Al-Kadhimi is unable to liberate the youth of a sect, we cannot expect him to liberate the Iraqi economy, save his borders or promote the patriotism of his army and the qualifications of its security apparatus.

Ramadi

With the intensification of sectarian warfare, which turned the weapons of the Iraqi resistance against the occupation on the chests of Iraqis themselves and the rise of jihadist groups within the Sunni community, jihadist songs became a need in order to raise morale and communicate some messages. Some of these songs have, in my opinion, provided a wealth of material for understanding and feeling what is happening and, without exaggeration, may obviate the lengthy studies of research centers with hundreds of pages explaining why Iraqi Sunni youth join the jihadist groups. In early 2005, singer Samir Al-Bashiri released a song entitled “To God“, which briefly spoke of a young man living with his mother peacefully and safely until she was killed in a US airstrike, which pushed him to revenge. We are faced with a simple equation: injustice breeds the anger and desire for revenge of the oppressor.

The return of the “state”

When you leave hundreds of thousands of Sunni families in camps deprived of the basic necessities of life under the hot summer sun in the Nineveh desert and the harsh winter rains in the Erbil camps, preventing them from returning to their homes and lands, and then shedding militias that kidnap their youth without any guilt, you wonder why, after all this injustice, the Islamic State will return to attack military convoys in Diyala, Salah al-Din and Anbar? Then, either you are far from reality or what is happening is a plan for demographic change that will make the Sunnis of Iraq an ineffective minority by liquidating them or pushing them towards the exodus.

Erbil

The sounds of Turkish warplanes are still heard from time to time in the skies of Iraqi Kurdistan, with the assurance of the Turkish Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs that Ankara continues to strike against the positions of the terrorist organization of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) and their militia ‘Sinjar Resistance Units’. Turkish moves in northern Iraq have not come as a surprise, but are an extension of earlier moves in northern Iraq of a state of loss experienced by the government of Erbil, which itself stands on the threshold of a resounding fall in light of the escalation of voices coming from Sulaimaniya, supported by the movements and statements of officials of the members of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan against this government and the ruling party that entered a dark tunnel and its popularity in the region fell after the failed secession attempt in 2017.

In the midst of this complicated scene in Erbil, the capital of the region, no reasonable person can expect the Qandil Mountains, the stronghold of the leaders of the PKK terrorist organization, to be calm. Activists in northern Iraq have confirmed that the terrorist organization has full control of vast areas of Dohuk in northern Iraq, as well as the Turkish-Iraqi and Iranian-Iraqi borders. And with the madness prevailing in Baghdad, it is naive to expect Turkey to remain motionless as the ghouls grow on its borders without any deterrence.

Many of my ancestral Greek philosophers have mentioned in many of their works the greatness of Mesopotamian civilization or what is now called Iraq and spoke of its civilized peoples who preceded others in construction and science. This area has now turned into a nightmare, as Iraqi youth have been forced to choose between three things. The first is immigration, the second is extremism (PKK, ISIS, militias backed by Iran) and the third is waiting for conditions to change. Iraq today does not have the power to inspire respect for its neighbors and an economy that will keep its youth in the country from seeking asylum in Western Europe. Nor does it have the knowledge to resist a terrifying pandemic like that of the corona. As for the solution, I think only the Iraqi youth can change the reality, but the cost will be expensive for the magnitude of the greatness and history of this nation.