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Can Iraq resist rupture?

13 June 2014 [08:45] - TODAY.AZ
Following the capture of Mosul, a city in northern Iraq, by the terrorist organization Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the Iraqi army without any resistance abandoned the city of Tikrit, which at one time was the last center of resistance to the U.S. Army.

Yesterday, ISIL took under its control another city and some oil bases in Kirkuk, according to the official reports, while today some Iraqi media outlets reported about an imminent attack on the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

But taking into account the military capabilities of the Iraqi army and that of the terrorist groups in Iraq, one can not believe that a disciplined army is helpless before the terrorists.

On the other hand, the withdrawal of the Iraqi army from Tikrit, a city densely populated by Sunnis, forces us to look at the details of these developments more carefully.

Carefully following these events, one can see that along with ISIL, other groups such as Naqshbandi, Military Council of the Tribal Revolutionaries and Mujahideen Army are also active in these developments.

ISIL members' total number in Iraq and Syria does not exceed 5,000.

The capture of Iraqi cities by the ISIL so easily, shows that there is a split in the Iraqi army amid these developments.

That is why most Arab states given the background of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's policies, have turned a blind eye to the existence of ISIL, and are calling these events a "Sunni revolt in Iraq".

Naturally, it is hard to believe that other participants in these events will keep on fighting together with ISIL until the end.

It is also hard to believe that the Iraqi army will be able to bring the situation under their control without support from the Sunnis and 'Peshmerga' special forces that are under the orders of the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq.

Given that, along with the Sunnis, Kurds are also unhappy with the idea of a third term for al-Maliki as prime minister, the Kurdish administration can support Maliki only in exchange for certain conditions. Most Iraqi politicians even believe that al-Maliki's retirement would be the first step to settling the crisis.

Iraq's domestic politics is the main reason for unity between Sunni tribes and the ISIL, although they differ in ideological point of view.

Iran's and Turkey's stances on the issue

Naturally, the neighboring states can not remain indifferent to these developments. In his latest statement, the Chairman of Iranian Parliament's Foreign Policy and National Security Committee, Nozar Shafi'ee said ISIL currently does not pose any danger to Tehran, but its ideology can become dangerous for Iran in the future.

Regarding Turkey, it should be noted that Ankara's situation differs from that of Tehran.

Yesterday the employees of Turkish consulate in Mosul were taken hostage and this forced Ankara to take a more sensitive approach to this situation.

But a statement from Sinan Ogan, an MP from the oppositional Nationalist Movement Party, was perceived ambiguously within the country. Ogan said the Turkish consulate in Mosul was captured by an order from Ankara.

Given the fact that ISIL captured two border-crossing points on the Turkish- Syrian border, and thus turning into a "neighbour" of Turkey, and taking hostage the consulate staff, then it should be noted that Ankara is in a more desperate situation than Tehran.

Iraq and Syria in danger of being partitioned

Given what is happening in Syria and Iraq, the region's religious and ethnic composition, the interests of Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel in this region, one can confidently say that both countries are actually facing a danger of being partitioned.

Baghdad's helplessness before these developments in the country, which have continued since 2011, and the bloody clashes in Syria indicate the beginning of this process.

Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Arabic News Service

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