26 September 2017
English Arabic

On 24 June, Bashar Assad’s army jet fighters bombed the Iraqi city of Qaem (near the Syrian border), the city of Rutba (150 km from Syrian border) and the western areas of Mosul, which had fallen out of Maliki’s forces’ control in recent days. As a result many civilians were brutally murdered in public places such as the bazaar and gas station. While during the past two years, Bashar Assad has never bombed ISIS bases in Syria and his aerial strikes have always targeted innocent civilians and opposition groups, now under the name of bombing ISIS, innocent Iraqi citizens are being slaughtered. This clearly shows how baseless the claim of fighting against terrorism and ISIS is.

Coincidently, on the days of 24 and 25 June, Iraqi forces bombed the city of Beiji in the Salahaddin Province killing at least 100 civilians and injuring many more. Most of the city’s inhabitants were forced to flee the city. The brutal death of 69 people outside the city of Hilla and the murder of 52 inmates in the Baquba Prison by government forces, are other crimes carried out by Maliki who is desperately trying to keep his post as prime minister.

According to a report by CNN, the governor of Baquba claimed that the prisoners were killed by ISIS, yet hospital personnel and other Baquba officials say that the inmates were killed by their prison guards. Al-Taqeer TV said on 20 June: “The Governor of Diyala revealed that the Vahdat Prison management in Baquba was involved in the physical annihilation of 52 inmates. He said that the only survivor of this incident has said that the inmates were fired upon by prison guards and denied that mortars had been fired on the prison. The governor said that after this testimony, the inmate was abducted from the hospital and murdered.”

ISIS is a terrorist and extremist group who has taken advantage of the current situation in Iraq to position its forces in various areas of the country. According to many accounts, the actions of this group have to this date been in favour of the Iranian regime and Bashar Assad. France’s President Francois Hollande spoke of relations between ISIS and the Assad regime on 20 June. However, falsely relating the Iraqi people’s revolt, which in the past two weeks has liberated half of Iraq’s territories with a population of 10 million people, with this terrorist group follows two purposes. First, legitimizing the killing of civilians and entrance of IRGC and the Quds Force; and second, once again bringing the US back into Iraq.

The leaders of the uprising have from June 10th to this day stipulated time and again that they have no relations with ISIS and strongly condemn it. They made it clear what is taking place in Iraq is not a Shiite or a Sunni war, but a war between the Iraqi people and Maliki and the Iranian regime. They said they don’t intend to occupy Baghdad, but they want to oust Maliki and if they are going to Baghdad it is because Maliki intends to usurp his prime ministerial office with the Quds Force so that he can continue killing Iraqi citizens.

The Association of Muslim Scholars led by Sheikh Hareth al-Zari, who plays an important role in the developments, said on June 12th: “We want to stop cruelty against all Iraqis. We recognize no difference between religions…because any kind of discrimination against religious minorities must be lifted and they must be protected… our motto is forgiveness. Criminals must be handed over to a judiciary that is not sectarian or politically motivated like Maliki’s judiciary.”

Sheikh Ali Hatam, one of the most prominent Iraqi tribal sheikhs, has issued numerous statements and conducted many interviews with Arab and Western media outlets saying, “ISIS is fabricated by Iran. Before God and the people of the world, we are completely against ISIS. Our fundamental goal is to destroy Maliki’s autocracy, and then we can fight again ISIS as we have done so before.”

The General Military Council of Revolutionaries, consisting of senior army officers, has announced, “This revolution is not an ISIS revolution. It is a tribal revolution that has risen against cruelty. This is the new Iraqi spring and it has nothing to do with terrorism. We oppose any actions against human rights, and we condemn anyone that carries out such actions. We don’t even carry out such actions against our enemies. We want an Iraq that enjoys its riches. A democratic Iraq with a government ruling over the people, chosen by the people, and that protects Iraq’s unity.”

The Iranian regime and Maliki, its puppet prime minister, are the main problems in Iraq that have led the country into destruction, civil war and sectarianism. As we had announced prior to this, setting Maliki aside, evicting the Iranian regime, forming an inclusive national reconciliation government and carrying out elections under UN supervision are the only solutions to this crisis, and this is the will of the Iraqi people.

While there is an Iraqi and international consensus that Maliki must go, on June 25th he audaciously said the national reconciliation government is a coup d’état against the constitution, going on to emphasize his right to retain the post of Prime Minister. Any solution for this matter lies in ousting Maliki. Therefore, the US, EU and UN must stop all their aid to Maliki's government and not allow him to use Western support to further prolong the war and massacres in Iraq.


STRUAN STEVENSON, MEP
President of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Iraq
President of the European Iraqi Freedom Association

Published in Articles

Aljazeera TV- June 20, 2014 (Translated from Arabic)

Muzhir al-Qaisi:Today the revolutionaries from the Iraq tribes have flared up the flame of a revolution that will never be extinguished. This revolution started when our people demanded their legal rights and based on the constitution they resorted to sit-ins. However, They were responded with fire and iron. As a result, weapon was chosen as the last shelter for implementing our demand. But thanks God and thanks to our social grassroots that are growing day by day, we managed to take control over Mosul, Salahaddin, Fallujah, Garma, Biji and most of northern areas, and we are now near Baghdad’s walls and its surroundings, meaning Baghdad’s belt.

Q: What draw you to this point? I mean from the self-defense stage to the stage of controlling over areas in north of Iraq.

Muzhir al-Qaisi: It was Maliki who draw us to this stage. It was Maliki who forced us to do so. When he dispatched his military units to our areas and set up checkpoints, the goal was to create horror among the people.

Q: When we say there is control over these areas, it is not just on behalf of tribe’s armed men, rather there is ISIL too. To what extend this organization has control over areas that are under the control of tribe’s armed men? (If I put it this way) have influence on?

Muzhir al-Qaisi: In fact ISIL exists and nobody can deny them … but this revolution, is not that organization’s revolution, rather it is the revolution of tribes who have risen up against tyranny, and Military Councils are part of those risen forces.

Q: To what extent the tribes are in contact with ISIL? Is there a direct relationship and is there coordination?

Mozhar al-Qaisi: There is no coordination or relationship. As I said, this organization exists and it has some combatants and has some places where it has movements, but this revolution is a tribal revolution and this is something that we want to let the whole world know. This revolution is a new Iraqi spring. This is an armed revolution to end tyranny and has no relations with any other plan or program; it has no relations with terrorism or any other party. This is a revolution of genuine Iraq’s tribes who have risen up against a tyrannical government.

Q: What is your evaluation of the number and strength of ISIL organization?

Muzhir al-Qaisi: We are not in contact with them to know their number. This number and this magnification of the number of combatants has not been mentioned by any official news agency or by any official side or military side. But what I wanted to say is no matter how big the number of any armed force may be, is it comparable to the tribes’ population? That is the whole people of Iraq. It is not comparable at all. The tribes are the people of this country and the inhabitants of these same cities that have been freed. They have taken arms to defend their cities and beliefs. The size of other organizations that claim are with the revolutionaries or the revolution, no matter how big it is and how many organizations, their size cannot be as big as the size of masses’ revolution.

Q: Do you treat ISIL based on the rule of the enemy of your enemy is your friend?

Mozhar al-Qaisi: Never. We are bound to the nation’s goals. Our weapons have been given to us by our people. There might be numerous guns pointed at the main target, but it doesn’t mean that there might be coordination and cooperation among them.

Q: So ISIL organization affects your goals?

Muzhir al-Qaisi: Not necessarily, it has no effect. We plan ourselves and we act ourselves…

Q: But now the western community, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Maliki’s government and many parties generalize what is going on in areas under your control and what is being done by the ISIL elements. Does this matter affect what you are trying for and your just rights in the absence of a certain stance on your behalf?

Muzhir al-Qaisi: It sure affects; but we have to think more clearly. There are surely individual treatments these days from this or that which are in contrast with our principles and treatment and even with human rights. But who is spreading such things and attributing them to us. This is a big question. These currents do possess extensive media and propaganda facilities. Let me tell you an example. If you visit U-Tube now, you will find very many clippings footage with specific scenes in them.

Q: Like trampling human rights and shooting in the head and ….

Muzhir al-Qaisi: In order to damage our project. Well do you know that when we post a statement on YouTube, they do not let it be there for more than 48 hours and delete it? Even our publications are deleted on YouTube and are removed... So why these footages remain only this much? Isn’t there anybody to defend them to remain?

Q: What is your position regarding the violations that exist in YouTube right now? What is the position of tribal revolutionaries in this regard?

Muzhir al-Qaisi: We do not agree with any action that is against human rights, from any side. We condemn these actions and reject them. We do not agree with such actions. We don’t agree with trampling rights whatsoever. Others have their own opinion, but we don’t absolutely approve it and do not use it even against our enemies either.

Q: Is it possible for us to witness conflict between the tribes’ revolutionaries and the ISIL like what happened in Syria?

Mozhar al-Qaisi: personally, I hope we do not have to do it.

Q: What solutions do you think may be exist?

Muzhir al-Qaisi: War tactics and philosophies in armed struggles always ended to political solutions. It is not possible that revolutionary movements last without weapon unless; all political goals that they fight for them are achieved. We want to gain this goal with fewer casualties; we were forced to take weapon. We are not alone; we are backed by a people that obliged us to take weapon.

Q: Is Baghdad among your goals? What is your plan?

Muzhir al-Qaisi: we have planned for regime change and its overthrow, if overthrowing the regime requires overthrowing its army and militants that have entrenched in Baghdad, and when it is appropriate, this goal would be in our planning and our priorities. Today, we try to eliminate the tyranny imposed on Iraqis. I would like to repeat that we are not warmongers. We do not try for fighting; we do not want more casualties, either in governmental army consisting of militants or those civilians that are trapped in fire line. So, I am saying that we have planned for everything; the initiative is at our hand. We determine the timeline and extend of the assault.

Q: Saudi Arabia has issued a statement about Iraq’s development, how do you look at Gulf States’ position toward Iraq’s crisis?

Muzhir al-Qaisi: We welcome this position; however, it is late and too late. We have been marginalized for a long time. I am saying that on TV, we are not representative of one sector of the society. We are the representative of all Iraqi people; all Iraqis are important for us. Maybe, one sector of the society has endured more tyranny than the other sectors, because it has been targeted in a larger project, a project that comes from Iran. Iran intends to change the demographic composition and also demographic map in the region to approach Mediterranean. We do not ask these countries for help, except their approval and paying attention to our demands.

We seek a democratic Iraq that all people enjoy democracy with an elected government ruling people; where people live in justice, live with each other and protect Iraq’s unity. We do not accept any disintegration, neither geographic nor social.

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By STRUAN STEVENSON, MEP

Removal of Maliki from office, ending Iranian meddling and the establishment of a temporary nationalist, democratic and non-sectarian government, is the sole solution to the crisis in Iraq that is endorsed by significant sections of Iraqi society. The popular uprising in Iraq and the liberation of its cities one after the other, together with the collapse of Maliki’s forces and their mass desertion and retreat in face of the tribes, is continuing on a rapid basis. A number of facts on this development are as follows: 
1. The propaganda by Maliki and his masters in Tehran, generously repeated by the Western media, that these regions have fallen into the hands of extremist terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant (ISIL), is ludicrous and baseless. Liberating around 100,000 square kilometers of Iraqi territory with a population of several million by an isolated and extremist group of several hundred or even several thousand members is preposterous. It is the tribes and ordinary Iraqi citizens who have risen up in anger against Maliki.
2. Under the pretext of fighting terrorism, Maliki and the Iranian regime on the one hand try to justify the interference of the Iranian terrorist Qods Force and the invasion of Iraq by the revolutionary guards and on the other hand attempt to encourage the United States to militarily interfere in favour of Maliki to repeat its past blunder in Iraq, on an even more dangerous scale. We in the West have to acknowledge that this is a popular revolution against Maliki and the suppressive and criminal regime, organized with the assistance of the United States and of course under the guidance and leadership of the religious fascists ruling Iran with the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars of the assets and oil wealth of Iraq.
3. The Iranian regime is now poised to save Maliki. In a telephone conversation, President Rouhani has promised Maliki every kind of cooperation. Fox News wrote on June 13: "Some 150 fighters from the Revolutionary Guards elite Quds force have already been dispatched by Tehran, and the division's powerful commander, Qassem Suleimani, met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Thursday and pledged to send two notorious Iranian brigades to aid in the defence of Baghdad." And The Wall Street Journal of June 12 wrote: “At least three battalions of the Quds Forces, the elite overseas branch of the Guards, were dispatched to aid in the battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, an offshoot of al Qaeda rapidly gaining territory across Iraq, they said: “One Guards unit that was already in Iraq fought alongside the Iraqi army, offering guerrilla warfare advice and tactics and helped reclaim most of the city of Tikrit on Thursday; two Guards' units, dispatched from Iran's western border provinces on Wednesday, were tasked with protecting Baghdad and the holy Shiite cities of Karbala and Najaf.” These reports only reveal part of the reality and support our constant warnings about the meddling of Iran.
4. Reports on Nineveh and Salahaddin provinces filed by journalists from CNN, al-Jazeera and BBC among others, support our previous intelligence that no violence or aggression has been carried out against the indigenous population. The residents of these areas are happy that Maliki’s forces have fled and public and private properties now enjoy relative security. The mass exodus of refugees from these cities is due to the bombardment by Maliki’s forces, although 48 hours after the liberation of Nineveh, the wave of refugees has markedly ebbed and some have already begun to return. 
5. Yesterday, in its 12-article statement, the Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq that plays an important role in the developments in the country called on the Iraqi revolutionaries to treat people well, help solve their problems, treat the ethnic groups well, refrain from taking hostages, forgive and forget and treat believers of all religions without prejudice. In this framework, the armed tribes refrained from entering Samarra in Salahaddin Province where the shrine of two Shiite Imams is located and are trying to gain control of the city through negotiations with the government forces in order to prevent any killings and bloodshed. General George Casey disclosed on June 2013 that when he was the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq in 2006, the Iranian regime blew up this sacred shrine and blamed it on the Sunnis instigating a great massacre in Iraq. Casey stated that he had personally reported to Maliki that Iran had been behind the explosion, but Maliki took no action.
6. Sheik Abdulqader Nael, one of the sheiks of al-Anbar Province, stated on June 11 that the revolutionaries are calling for the formation of a national salvation government, a technocratic Iraqi government to hold a fair election within a specific timeframe. 
7. Sheik Ali Hatam, the chief of Al-Dulaim Tribe and one of the leaders of the current revolution, in a 6-article statement on June 11 called on all the people and fighters to protect the “lives of all citizens and all public and private properties” and to avoid taking revenge and not to allow “any form of terrorism”. He added that “all soldiers and government employees that have been coerced by Maliki and driven to sectarian war” will be forgiven. He thanked “all security forces that did not open fire on the people” and stated that they will be rewarded. Sheik Ali Hatam asked for the removal of Maliki from office and the establishment of a temporary government to save Iraq. He said that the tribes are fully prepared to take on the security file in the liberated provinces.
8. In addition to the revolutionary guards, Maliki is using the paramilitary forces associated with the Iranian regime such as Asai’b Ahl al-Haq and Kata’eb Hezbollah to suppress the popular uprising. These paramilitary forces blew up some of the bridges over the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in order to hamper the advancement of revolutionary forces creating massive problems for the population.
9. On June 11, Maliki admitted his forces are fleeing and said, “…the leaders who acquiesced with this conspiracy and those who retreated and those who showed weakness should all be punished…all those who laid down their arms should be prosecuted. They shall never avert punishment”.
10. In such conditions, the Iraqi al-Taghier TV channel revealed on June 13 that on the orders of Maliki, billions of dollars of cash has been transferred in armored vehicles from Iraq's Central Bank to the Baghdad Green Zone to be subsequently transferred to Iran.

I once again repeat the proposal of the conference in Brussels on June 11 as the sole practical solution to the crisis in Iraq in order to avert further bloodshed. This solution includes the removal of Maliki from office, ending all Iranian meddling in Iraq and the formation of a nationalist, democratic and non-sectarian government that encompasses all segments of Iraqi society. This solution is widely supported by Iraqi nationalistic and democratic forces. Instead of assisting Maliki, that will only lead to more blood being spilled, the United States and the European Union should force Maliki to accept this solution and immediately step down from power.

STRUAN STEVENSON, MEP
President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq

Published in Articles
Saturday, 14 June 2014 00:00

FACT SHEET ON DEVELOPMENTS IN IRAQ

BBC, June 14: Iraq conflict: 'We are stronger than ISIS'. Divisions between the groups fighting to topple Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki are emerging. Much of the attention from the current insurgency has focused on ISIS - the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, but it is only one of a number of militia groups fighting. Former General Muzhir al Qaisi is a spokesman for the General Military Council of the Iraqi Revolutionaries, which entered Mosul alongside ISIS and is taking part in the campaign. He told the BBC's Middle East correspondent Jim Muir that Mosul was too big a city for ISIS to have taken alone. He also stressed the differences between the two groups, describing ISIS as "barbarians".
CNN, June 14: Emboldened militants, backed by Sunni tribal leaders, pushed toward Baghdad on Friday as increasingly nervous U.S. officials mulled their limited options to help slow the militants' advance. In recent days, Iran has sent about 500 Revolutionary Guard troops to fight alongside Iraqi government security forces in Diyala province.
The Daily Star (Lebanon), June 14: [Iraqi government air strikes and] military power in the long run remains helpless in the face of determined moves by disgruntled citizens to regain what they see as dignity, freedom and rights.
The Economist, June 14: Mr Maliki has been less brutal but more crass than Mr Assad. By the end of 2011 American forces had almost eradicated ISI, as it still was, in Iraq. They did so by capturing or killing its leaders and, more crucially, by recruiting around 100,000 Sunni Iraqis to join the Sahwa, or Awakening, a largely tribal force to fight ISI, whose harsh rules in the areas they controlled had turned most of the people against it. But after the Americans left, Mr Maliki disbanded the Sahwa militias, breaking a promise to integrate many of them into the regular army. He purged Sunnis from the government and cracked down on initially peaceful Sunni protests in Ramadi and Falluja at the end of last year. Anti-American rebels loyal to Saddam and even Sahwa people may have joined ISIS out of despair, feeling that Mr Maliki would never give them a fair deal. In 2012 Tariq al-Hashemi, the vice-president who was Iraq’s top Sunni, fled abroad, and was sentenced to death in absentia. Sunnis feel they have no political representation, says Mr Haniyeh. “ISIS and al-Qaeda are taking advantage and appropriating Sunni Islam.”
Al-Monitor, June 13: Iraqi prime minister Nouri Al-Maliki never implemented promised reforms to integrate and share power with Iraq’s Sunni communities. Although the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is trying to exploit the “Sunni cause” to mobilize its fighters and rally supporters, its “jihadist” characteristic reduces its claim to represent the Sunni community to a small segment within this community. Most Sunnis maintain their suspicious view of the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad, but they do not see ISIS as a good alternative. It is true that ISIS has largely invested in the sectarian tension in Iraq and the region, but its objectives go beyond the Iraqi borders or the major concerns of Iraq’s Sunni community. ... Maliki tried to weaken strong Sunni leaders, deprive the Sunni population of legitimate and reliable leadership and empower those who are personally loyal to him. ... Without reaching a new compact that reforms the system of government and seeks a broader legitimacy for the state, Iraq’s future as a united country remains uncertain.
The New York Times, Editorial, June 12: What’s happening in Iraq is a disaster. ... Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is said to be in a panic. It is hard to be surprised by that, because more than anyone he is to blame for the catastrophe. Mr. Maliki has been central to the political disorder that has poisoned Iraq, as he wielded authoritarian power in favor of the Shiite majority at the expense of the minority Sunnis, stoked sectarian conflict and enabled a climate in which militants could gain traction.
USA Today, June 12: With no obvious replacement for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki — and no apparent intent on his part to step down -Washington is largely resigned to continue working with his Shiite-led government that has targeted Sunni political opponents and, in turn, has inflamed sectarian tensions across Iraq. "He's obviously not been a good prime minister," said Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "He has not done a good job of reaching out to the Sunni population, which has caused them to be more receptive to al-Qaida efforts." The panel's chairman, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., noted only lukewarm support for al-Maliki, both in Iraq and among U.S. officials. "I don't know whether or not he will actually be the prime minister again," Menendez said. "I guess by many accounts, he may very well ultimately put (together) the coalition necessary to do that."
CNN, June 12: Fareed Zakaria: "The Iraqi government under Nuri al-Maliki has excluded and persecuted the Sunnis. Any insurgency grows on the discontent of the population, and what has happened is that the population in Iraq has gotten more and more discontented. They're joining up with radical groups in Syria and they are now moving to Baghdad. The second-largest city in Iraq has already fallen. I think with the current government in Iraq, it would be a mistake to offer major support like air strikes and things like that. Because ultimately, I don't think al-Maliki can put this back together again. I think what we should demand is a national unity government. Al-Maliki step down as prime minister. A more conciliatory figure takes his place. Bring in Sunnis as well. Under those circumstances, I think that the United States should support, but not this government."
CNN, June 12: These 90,000 "Sons of Iraq" made a significant contribution to the reported 90% drop in sectarian violence in 2007-2008, assisting the Iraqi security forces and the United States in securing territory from Mosul to the Sunni enclaves of Baghdad and the surrounding Baghdad "belts." As the situation stabilized, the Iraqi government agreed to a plan to integrate vetted Sunni members of the Sons of Iraq into the Iraqi army and police to make those forces more representative of the overall Iraqi population. But this integration never happened. Al-Maliki was comfortable touting his support for the Sons of Iraq in non-Shiite areas such as Anbar and Nineveh provinces, but he refused to absorb Sunnis into the ranks of the security forces along Shiite-Sunni fault lines in central Iraq.

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The UK, having invaded Iraq 11 years ago on a very questionable pretext and having left with Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister obviously brings us some responsibility for what is happening there today. Amidst a rising discontent against Iraqi prime minister Maliki and his blatant human rights violations, and at a time when the public as well as both Shiite and Sunni leaders including Maliki's own allies were asking him to step down, the news came out on Tuesday 10 June that Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, had been captured and Maliki's army had fled the city in a matter of just one hour leaving most of their weaponry and uniforms behind.

The first question coming to mind was, "Mosul .... captured - by whom"? "The Military Council of Iraqi Revolutionaries" my contacts told me. "It's a general uprising against the Maliki misrule and the up to 1,000 killings every month for the past decade". Perhaps, insofar as Jihadists and criminals seem to attract greater headlines than the suffering community, first media reports tried to simplify the incident down to an unreal but perhaps an easy-to-understand theory that Mosul was overrun by "Islamic terrorists". In a little over one hour and with this surge rapidly spreading into other cities in various provinces of Iraq like Al-Anbar, Salahuddin and Kirkuk!! The call by Sunni leaders for the removal of Maliki and the formation of a new (pluralist) government immediately cast serious doubts on the presumption of "An attack by Islamic terrorists".

What a potential lifeline for al-Maliki if the world should simply accept that these are Islamic terrorists belonging to a breakaway Al-Qaeda group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)! Curiously, the ISIL was immediately branded by Maliki and by the mullahs in Iran as a frightful and horrific body. That was simply meant to scare everyone - Maliki, who is hated right across the sectarian divide by most Iraqis, could be the saviour of Iraq!

Rafe'i-o-Refaie, one of Iraq's highest Sunni religious leaders, said in an interview with Al-Jazeera TV on June 10: "We are dealing with a state-sponsored terrorism which accommodates the real terrorists. We often hear in the news about ISIL doing things in Al-Anbar, Falluja, Samera and Mosul but is ISIL not conveniently the name given by Maliki to everyone who is not prepared to capitulate to him."

Mr. Rafe'i-o-Refaie went on to condemn what has been going on in Iraq as a game directed by the Iranian Ghasim Soleimani (Chief of the terrorist Quds force) and his deputy, Masjidi, who is based in Baghdad. This game is being played out under Maliki's direction at the behest of the clerical regime ruling Iran.

Hence, we need to be careful not to be duped again by Maliki and his Iranian masters. Let us put aside the ISIL and focus on what Maliki has done and is doing to that country. Iraqi people have been victimised for more than 11 years. Up to 1,000 people are being killed each month and up to 4,000 injured. The Maliki-government has been unable to deny that it carries out collective executions. Iraqi women have been raped and tortured in prisons run by Maliki's forces. 52 unarmed Iranian refugees were gunned down by his forces in Camp Ashraf on 1st September last.

Iraq's economy is in shambles. Despite the fact that Iraq is one of the leading exporters of oil and receives billions of dollars in foreign aid which brings enormous revenues to the country, Iraqi people even in its capital Baghdad, have to live with long hours of electric power cut-off. In a country which has the highest amount of water in the region, people have to put up with water-shortages. Unemployment and poverty run rampant. Corruption in the government and those affiliated to the government is almost unimaginable with billions of dollar embezzled and laundered, thus crippling the country's economy.

Maliki has created a Mafia-like network of criminals and assassins to eliminate the voice of opposition at every level. In a certain step-by-step scheme, Maliki has tried to bring all bodies of power under his dominance. For instance, In Iraq, the President is devoid of any executive power, though constitutionally many matters need President Talabani's approval. But President Jalal Talabani has been severely ill for almost two years and has, from abroad, been unable to play any role in Iraqi affairs.

Yet Maliki has been preventing the legislative branch from electing a new president in the absence of Mr. Talabani. Only his deputy Khazali who is from Maliki's political party plays a role and thereby, all power is effectively in Maliki's hands. But Iraq had two Deputy Presidents? The first deputy was from the Iraqi Sunnis and two and a half years ago Maliki framed him, illegally prosecuted him, and had him condemned to death in absentia despite the fact that he had legal immunity. Only Khazali, from Maliki's own faction, is in position and pliant.

Maliki has marginalised the Sunnis and suppressed his opponents for eight consecutive years in order to maintain power. People of Iraq as well as the Iraqi dignitaries and religious and tribal leaders are clearly demanding a change to his premiership and yet he does not want to step down.

This is the kind of man who is ruling Iraq today.

James F. Jeffrey, US former Ambassador to Iraq, who was in Baghdad for more than two years after the 2010 elections and as U.S. troops withdrew said to Associated Press that "it is time for Iraqis and Americans to consider alternatives." Responding to those who are worried if Maliki's departure would create a power vacuum that could foster even more political infighting and instability, Jeffrey said: "That might well be. But at some point in a quasi-democratic system, there has to be accountability."

It is indeed a question of accountability. What happened in Mosul and is now spreading towards Baghdad is a demand for accountability in Iraq. This is what the West including the UK and the US should be actively promoting. Maliki wants to declare a state of emergency in the country. One must immediately ask, "A state of emergency for whom, given that this uprising is a surge by the people of Iraq. Associated Press reported that the city of Mosul has a Sunni Muslim majority - so be it but the West should not be giving tacit support to a dictator against whom an overall deeply embittered population wants and deserves other than a Maliki's government.

Where it is possible the West must fulfil its responsibility to assist promote democracy and Rule of Law in Iraq by pushing for an alternative to Maliki's reign of terror. He has already been given far too much time. It is now time for the urgently needed change towards Democracy, peace and the Rule of Law in Iraq. The painful alternative will be if and when the mafia and criminals (and, yes - the Jihadists too) once again divert such a spontaneous uprising as we are witnessing to their own Maliki-like purpose.

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Tuesday, 24 June 2014 01:03

Unlikely Allies Aid Militants in Iraq

Radical Sunni Fighters Are Aided by Local Tribes Who Sympathize With Their Goal to Oust Baghdad Government
The Wall Street Journal
By Matt Bradley in Beirut and Bill Spindle in Amman, Jordan


Radical Sunni fighters, who seized another northern Iraqi city on Monday, are being aided by local tribes who reject the Islamists' extreme ideology but sympathize with their goal of ousting the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.
The uneasy alliance helps explain how several hundred insurgents from Islamic State of Iraq and Al Sham, or ISIS, have handily defeated a far larger, better-equipped Iraqi army and come to control about a third of Iraqi territory.
Sunni tribal leaders say mistreatment by the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has sparked protests and militancy among their ranks that created fertile ground for the al Qaeda offshoot to emerge victorious.
"This is a revolution against the unfairness and marginalization of the past 11 years," said Sheikh Khamis Al Dulaimi, a tribal leader in the Anbar Military Council of Tribal Revolutionaries, a group that has led protests against Mr. Maliki for the past year and a half.
Officials from the U.S. and Iran, which both back the Maliki government, signaled Monday a willingness to work together to halt ISIS's momentum—though with no military coordination, the White House stressed—during talks in Vienna over Tehran's nuclear program.
President Barack Obama formally notified Congress on Monday that he would send up to 275 U.S. military personnel to Baghdad "to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad." Mr. Obama last week also said the U.S. was considering other steps, including airstrikes.
The developments came after the insurgents seized the northwestern Iraqi city of Tal Afar, sparking an outflow of residents. The city was being guarded by a U.S.-trained Iraqi commander who had aimed to amass troops there and mount a counteroffensive to reclaim the city of Mosul from the rebels, said Iraqi military officials.
Last week, as militants advanced from the northern city of Mosul down the Tigris River toward Baghdad, many local Sunnis greeted them as liberators, feted them and cheered in the streets.
But as those insurgents bump against the geographical boundaries where Iraq's Sunnis are a majority, some tribesmen are reconsidering how to handle their allies of convenience. Aside from boasting of a mass execution of its enemies this week, the jihadist fighters have begun enforcing austere Islamic law at gunpoint, Iraqi officials say, in their effort create an Islamic empire, or caliphate, stretching across the boundaries of Syria and Iraq.
The tribesmen worry about Syria next door, where ISIS members are battling other Islamist fighters who are trying to oust President Bashar al-Assad's government.
"We're terrified of them. They are a problem. But we have to have priorities," said Sheikh Bashar al-Faidhi, a senior member of the Association of Muslim Scholars, a relatively moderate group of Sunni leaders that played a prominent role in resisting the U.S. occupation after 2003. "We are going to fight ISIS. But not now."
Although most observers say ISIS fighters played the dominant role in the quick military strikes last week, local Sunni politicians are taking credit for aiding the rebellion, saying the ISIS offensive was only a small part of a larger rebellion against the Maliki government that has been brewing for years.
"We don't deny that ISIS is fighting, but they are not more than 5%," Mr. Dulaimi said. "This is an Iraqi revolution."
Many Iraqi leaders now credit a Sunni-led anti-Maliki protest movement that raged in Iraq's western provinces since December 2011 for laying the groundwork for ISIS's military victories.
The protests, which were largely peaceful, aimed to roll back policies that many Sunnis claimed were discriminatory, such as an antiterrorism law that allowed law enforcement to round up thousands of Sunnis and anti-Baathist legislation that let the government disenfranchise suspected members of the former Sunni-led regime.
The prime minister's office has said that the often harsh measures are necessary to combat a worsening terrorist threat.
The protest movement was led in large part by Sunni tribesmen who say they don't identify with extremist Islam. In some cases, they included military leaders and loyalists of former President Saddam Hussein's ousted regime.
Still, their antipathy for Mr. Maliki's government has led them to support ISIS—at least temporarily.
"For Sunnis on the ground, Maliki is still seen as a bigger threat," said Nathaniel Rabkin, managing editor of Inside Iraqi Politics, a political newsletter, and an expert on the Sunni tribal network. "Given how angry so many Sunnis are about the government's policies, it makes more sense to try to own this insurgency than to disown it."
Mr. Faidhi, for example, said ISIS forces are problematic but not one that Sunni resistance fighters should actively confront as long as they are fighting a common enemy. "We're fighting against a regime backed by the United States, Iran and even Russia," Mr. Faidhi said. "The revolutionary resistance has few arms. They are fighting my enemies, as well. So why should I fight them?"
Opposition to ISIS rule could grow as the group settles in and steps up enforcement of its austere version of Islam, Mr. Rabkin said. The group has already announced some rules that are likely to offend even the most conservative Iraqis: Amputations as a punishment for theft, harsh punishments for cigarette smoking and injunctions against shrines and even grave-markers that are common in western Iraq.
But pursuing such lofty goals immediately would be foolhardy, said Mr. Rabkin. After all, the residents of Aleppo, which is Syria's second-biggest city, kicked ISIS out early this year, something he said could be repeated in Iraq. And it was angry residents of western Iraq who turned on al Qaeda-linked forces during the U.S.-backed "Awakening" movement of 2007 and 2008.
For now, Iraq's Sunnis will have to weigh two undesirable options: Life under Mr. Maliki's army or a frightening Islamist militia.
"The Iraqi official channels are exaggerating ISIS's role" in the fighting, said Abdelrazeq Al Shimmari, the head of a anti-Maliki protest group based in western Iraq. "But personally, I would say I'm with any solution with any party that can bring me salvation even if it was the devil."


http://online.wsj.com/articles/unlikely-1402962546

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