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Iraq: Step by step towards the abyss

28 June 2014 [08:00] - TODAY.AZ
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

Recent developments in the Middle East have shown that terrorism is increasingly on the rise and in several instances used by governments as a tool of diplomacy.

The capture of several cities and towns by 'The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant' (ISIL), considered to be the most radical, richest and most dangerous terrorist organization in the world today; the desertion by the Iraqi army and the abandonment of positions and key cities without resistance; a more active and resolute struggle by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) against terrorism, are all signs of significant changes.

In this rather opaque situation the only clarity comes in the reality that fighting the network established by ISIL is no easy task.

ISIL includes Sunni groups such as Naqshbandi, Military Council of the Tribal Revolutionaries, the Mujahideen Army - groups that are dissatisfied with the policy pursued by the Iraqi government. They have formed alliances with remnants of the Ba'ath, a party that was incidentally banned after the US invasion in 2003.

Fatwas on jihad against ISIL

As ISIL advanced on Baghdad, Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Sistani, the top Shiite religious authority in the country and Iranian Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi issued fatwas calling on members of their community to resist the Sunni onslaught.

Theses fatwas were followed by the formation of and volunteer force known as 'Millioniyyah' consisting of Shiite Muslims to fight ISIL.

The only obvious outcome of this morass is that it will result in further violence between the Sunni and Shiite communities as some of the worst crimes continue to be carried out and with no visible end in sight. All sides claim to be acting in the name of God.

Relations between Iraq and KRG

The actions of ISIL first of all has caused the escalation of tension between Baghdad and Erbil [capital of KRG] bringing it to new heights.

The head of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Massoud Barzani blamed the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for the situation and urged him to resign. Barzani also underscored that a new era has begun and KRG is ready to be independent.

After the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the regions under Kurdish control were regarded as the safest region in Iraq. Today the Kurdish regions have become for all intents and purposes independent from Baghdad, both militarily and economically.

Barzani's statements can have serious consequences. On the other hand, it is a very serious fact that Erbil is preparing to issue its own currency 'Kuro' in order to cease dependence on Iraq.

The KRG has taken a strong stand against the ISIL, demonstrating that at the end of the day it appears to be stronger, sturdier and better anchored than the Iraqi government.

The developments in the Middle East - Syria and Iraq - show that these states are not the leading forces, but just components of the changes taking place in the region.

Today the danger of Iraq splitting into three parts is a very real threat, and could very well be the first step in the redrawing of the map of the Middle East. This is something that concerns every country in the region.

Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Arabic News Service

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