Skip to comments.Why We Must Embrace Iraq’s Sunnis
Posted on 11/08/2006 6:56:53 AM PST by jmc1969
The Shiites in Iraq are increasingly concerned that US support is shifting towards the Iraqi Sunni. I don't know what else the Shiites would expect after their own failure to govern the country and their failure to reign in on Shiite militias and death squads (namely the Iranian controlled Badr militia of Abdul Aziz Al-Hakim's and the Mehdi militia of Moqtada Al-Sadr).
The security plan of Baghdad was a set-up against the Sunni population from the outset. The US and Iraqi military went into Baghdad Sunni neighborhoods first (as directed in the Shiite government plan of Iraqs Shiite Prime Minster Maliki) and disarmed them down to one AK-47 for personal protection. Once the US and Iraqi military left the neighborhood, the Shiite militias entered, dragging civilians from their vehicles, homes and businesses and beat them, kidnapped them and killed many of them. The Sunnis were in effect defenseless.
The Mehdi militia and Badr militia have checkpoints set up all over Baghdad, many of them closing roads and ways for people living in Sunni villages to go into the city to travel, buy food, get water, etc. They have taken over hospitals denying Sunnis medical treatment and even killed some Sunni patients. They have taken over schools prohibiting Sunni students from entering and getting their free, government-provided education. They have taken over government offices, denying Sunnis access to government assistance and benefits. Even the Sunnis who want to leave the country find it difficult or almost impossible because passport offices are controlled by Shiites.
The police service is packed with Mehdi and Badr militia members. Most of my own cadets right now have Mehdi militia membership cards in their wallets. It's the only safe way to travel in Baghdad to prevent yourself from being mistaken as Sunni and being beaten, kidnapped or killed.
Al-Sadr and Hakim strongly encourage their people to join the police forces because it is easy to enter and they get access to do their militia duty in police service uniforms, using police service vehicles and, most importantly, have access to police service weapons.
Many Sunni ranking leaders of the police service were recently terminated by the Ministry of Interior with their termination papers stating they are terminated due to their former membership and loyalty to former leader Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party. Of course, the replacements in the ranks are Shiite ethnic. This is the perfect way to weed out the Sunnis and replace them with Shiites... and of course, those who are militia loyalist.
Maliki just announced that he wants to open private security company bids for securing the Anbar road from the Jordan border to Baghdad. I can imagine a Shiite-supported company, if not directly affiliated with the Mehdi or Badr militia, will win this bid and this will give them even more access to Iraqi government money, vehicles, equipment and weapons. I can imagine - just like Baghdad city and the roads around Baghdad - that the militias (or security people) will set up checkpoints along the road weeding out Sunni and Shiite ethnics and beat, kidnap and/or kill the Sunnis.
As for the Sunnis in the Anbar province, the majority are fighting very hard to get back their homes from foreign fighters and terrorists. These people attract US and Iraqi military attention to their areas and this creates a great hardship for them, not the terrorists. The Sunnis are an ethnic group that will not run to America or anyone else and beg for help. They will fight for what they believe in until their death. But the number of Sunnis involved in attacks on US and Iraqi security forces are not that many, especially when you distinguish between local Iraqis and foreign fighters.
The Sunnis don't work in a very organized manner as large groups. This is seen as a handicap to them. There are many small groups working that don't communicate among each other. Meanwhile, the Shiites work in large groups and are led hierarchically in an organized fashion this is how the Mehdi and Badr militias are operated.
Moqtada Al-Sadr plays a swell political game. He plays the media calling for his people to ignore Shiite and Sunni ethnicity and declares that all of us are Iraqi and Arab. But behind the scenes he sends out orders to his leaders in the Mehdi militia to ignore what he says in the media and to continue their mission to rid Baghdad - and as much of Iraq as possible - of the Sunni people.
When the Baghdad security plan is complete in the Sunni areas, it will surround the Shiite slums of Sadr City and Shaab. Moqtada fiercely protests against this and promises strong, aggressive action if the US/Iraqi military enter to search their homes. Maliki sides with Al-Sadr and demands US/Iraqi military forces leave the checkpoints surrounding Sadr City.
A Shiite leader of Iraq can not and will not disarm and disband a Shiite militia. It is not in their ethnicity, regardless of how neutral they say that they are. Any Prime Minister of Iraq needs the support of SCIRI (Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution In Iraq) and Mehdi (MA) to get the number of votes needed by Parliament to get put in the office. It is no coincidence that they are loyal to both.
Sadr City needs an operation such as former interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi called for in Najaf (a Shiite city) and Fallujah (a Sunni district of Ramadi). Ayad Allawi was secular and reined in terror groups and militias of both ethnicities with his strong leadership. He was truly neutral... at least showing more neutrality than we will see from any Shiite leader of Iraq.
Even my cadets carrying their Mehdi ID's on them tell me that Today is all about revenge. That is a statement from their mouth, not mine.
The cadets are angry that they were ruled and oppressed by a Sunni dictator for so long, and I think everyone around the world now knows exactly why Saddam ruled more often than not by force and by fear. It was the only way to keep control of his country because he did not want what is happening right now an environment in which he would lose power.
Al-Maliki, for example, has demanded that a renewal of the U.N. mandate for the U.S.-led military force in Iraq should be conditional on swift action to give full control of the Iraqi army to the Baghdad government. Maliki's next mission is to rid the Iraqi military of the many Sunni ethnic Iraqis that operate within it. The military is the most organized, diverse and government-linked entity with the least amount of militia involvement (especially by the Mehdi militia). Maliki wants to do an ethnic cleansing on the military just like he has done and is continuing to do on the Iraqi police service.
Tragically, no Sunni dare remain in the police service today without pledging loyalty to the Mehdi militia - or they face a certain death, in or out of uniform.
It is evident from this man on the ground - that the Shiites cannot govern, the militias are in revenge mode and will never be disarmed or disbanded by a Shiite leader, and they are spreading their chaos more and more throughout the country. Iran meanwhile is loving each and every minute of it and even supporting Shiites financially, with training and with weapons (helpfully smuggled across the border).
With this continued ruling of the country by Shiite parties and militias we will see the entire Middle East region destabilize more and more. In my opinion it is the beginning of an ethnic war... a holy war that has to be controlled now by whatever force and relationships are necessary to control it.
And you don't have to believe me... ask the governments of Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon and Pakistan.
Shiite religious clerics, starting with the top Ayatollah Ali Khomeini of Iran and down to Ali Sistani, Abdul Aziz Al-Hakim and Moqtada Al-Sadr could control the Shiite militias and death squads if they wanted to. All that has to happen is for Khomeini to order a cessation ordering Sistani who will then hand the order down to Hakim and Sadr. (The Shiites are after all extremely loyal to their religious clerics. Whatever they say is the truth, regardless of reality, fact or fiction.)
Alas, that order will never come, because they don't want it to come. They will issue a fatwa (death order) and jihad (holy war) against the US and Coalition Forces and the Sunni ethnic population before they ever help us get control through Shiite religious ties.
So yes, the Shiites should expect the US and Coalition governments to shift their support and now is the time to do that. Although it will prove difficult to change positions, to take down the militias and get back peace and security in Iraq, the Sunnis are the group to lead us to the required balance for that victory, I am confident. If we wait, we will never get control in this country and thousands more Iraqi civilians will die in the revenge process and so will US and Coalition soldiers caught in the cross hairs.
oh no....the ink isn't even dry on the ballot returns and already we are suppost to hug and love everyone....
"Although it will prove difficult to change positions, to take down the militias and get back peace and security in Iraq, the Sunnis are the group to lead us to the required balance for that victory,"
But surely there will need to be a figurehead to control the country, especially ruling from a minority base. So we're looking for a Sunni, strongman, ruthless, able to keep those pesky Shia in line, to install as President. Hmmm....
How about a pro-American secular Shia.
That's not what the author is proposing though.
I think that, fundamentally, any 'solution' in Iraq that proposes 'choosing' one ethnic or religious bloc to support over the others is certain to fail.
The author never says though that we should put a Sunni in charge of Iraq though.
As for the final solution to Iraq I am no longer sure, I lose more and more faith in the Shia led government by the day.
Those who think it is our hands to choose the PM or partition the country are kidding themselves. The task is reconcilliation and pacification. Maliki is working on the former and we are trying to work ourselves out of the second job.
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