Lessons must be learned from Iraq’s latest nightmare

16 Jun

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin – The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

Why does Iraq have to fall in this frightening situation? This question has been all over, but who is responsible. People are wondering why they should now witness Iraq’s descent into possible frightening future under the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) – when their fears all along have been for Syria’s future.

The background to today’s looming crisis in Iraq was discussed in a June 7, 2013 article by Zana Khasraw gul, political and security analyst, starting off with same question: Who is responsible for Iraq’s sectarian violence?

At that time, the writer levelled the blame on the Iraqi Shia government, which only now many other experts have also started pointing their fingers – unfortunately when it is too late. He accuses the Malaki government “of centralizing power and marginalizing the minorities, leading to severe discontent among the Sunnis and the Kurds.”

Zana Khasraw gul further adds:

    [From that point on], the Shia-Sunni conflict raised its ugly head again, particularly when a warrant was issued against the fugitive [Sunni] Vice President, Tarig-Hashimi, on charges of terrorism. Following Hashimi’s escape to Turkey, security conditions worsened and the political crisis deepened. The verdict on him, delivered in his absence, resulted in a further escalation of violence across central Iraq.

The Malaki government followed this with intensified use of state violence more particularly against Sunnis. Add to this, the discrimination in civilian and military life, which has marginalized the Sunnis and others. This exacerbated the already dicey situation in that country to today’s point of no return.

There are many in positions of power in America and Europe, who have wisened up why Iraq got to this point. They realize that such claim comes a little too late.

Moreover, the problem is that it is not only Iraq that is on such a track. There are many countries on the tipping point, especially where visibly stability has become a day-to-day thing.

In the face of this reticence, like many others, I fear the ground may shift before we know it in places where ethnicity rules – unless official discrimination and domination by a single ethnic group of multi-ethnic states is given serious re-examination. The trouble is international partners are as guilty for opting out on encouraging continuity of existing policies, even when the societal crack is being felt.

We see now all sides scurrying to do something at a point when Iraq is in danger of imploding, with extremists threatening to seize the country.

In all this, what has so far been ignored is the fact that in societies cut asunder by ethnic and religious divides, people could get tired of being pushed down and burgled by the powers that be. They also resent the humiliations that accompany divisive politics and survival strategies of those exclusively representing themselves in power and protecting the interests of fractional minority in society.

Read the full article by Zana Khasraw Gul on OpenDemocracy.

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