Tag Archives: Sunnis

Iran Stands To Gain In Iraq

During the initial stages of America’s invasion of Iraq, Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld was asked about the difference between Shiites and Sunnis only to be met with a baffled look on the face of the man who directed the invasion. Neither Bush, nor Cheney had any grasp about Iraqi politics. Iraq’smajor Shiite political parties have formed a new coalition which pointedly excludes the current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The Iraqi National Alliance will be led by the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, a conservative group which has close ties with Iranian Muslims and includes anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

President Bush never understood that in crushing Iraq he was aiding Iranian Muslims. He never understood the need to foster a strong Muslim secular coalition which could steer between extremes. Ironically, Maliki, who has excluded Sunnis from power might have to depend upon their votes to retain power.

Welcome to the world of Bush and American follies.

Dozens More Die In Iraq

Another market explosion in Iraq. Estimates are that about 56 people are dead and over a hundred are wounded. We are now days before American troops leave Iraq cities and transfer power to the Iraqi army in terms of law and order. The explosions are mainly directed at Shiite areas in large cities and undoubtedly are being conducted by Sunni or al-Qaeda groups which intend to destabilize the Iraq government. The question which must arise is whether th goal is to compel the return of US forces or is the goal to demonstrate the current Iraq government is unable to maintain law and order? The other unknown is what would be the response of President Obama if he was requested to return American forces to Iraq cities.

A major issue is the failure of the Maliki government to integrate Sunni forces which were working with American troops in order to reduce the power of al-Qaeda. The Awakening Councils were successful, but instead of cooperating with them, the Maliki government has not recruited Sunnis into the armed forces and does not cooperate with Awakening Council leaders. Perhaps, if the Iraq government cooperated to create a united Iraq these bombings would be reduced.

Gates In Iraq As Bombs Explode

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates visited Baghdad as bombs exploded in the city causing the death of 12 and wounding of two dozen people. Levels of violence have declined in recent months by car bombings continue plaguing security in the capital. Gates is meeting with Iraq officials in order to discuss the future of America’s role in fighting militants. “There is no question we will still be engaged as we are, but the areas in which we are seriously engaged will, I think, continue to narrow.” The unresolved issue is how does the United States work
with an Iraqi government which already has angered thousands of Sunnis who cooperated with the Americans only to find themselves outcast by the Shiite government.

General Austin noted the situation is “still very fragile. Things could happen to turn things around.” That is always a danger when the government of Iraq leaves much to be desired in terms of its ability to cooperate with dissident groups.

Will The Surge “Victory” Be A “Victory?”

There is increasing fear among many leaders in the US military regarding the long term success of the surge in guaranteeing the end of violence in Iraq. Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently raised the question as to whether “our gain are necessarily enduring.” Iraq leaders face many serious challenges, particularly in being able to create a unified government with the Sunnis who once ruled Iraq. Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, a leader in the Iraq Parliament, recently admitted; “we have to admit shortcomings in the practice of democracy. And we are seriously lacking in the spirit of consensus.”

Failure on the part of the Maliki government to bring Sunni Awakening Council fighters into the regular Iraq army or to ensure they have a strong voice in government, are symptoms of issues that will arise in more powerful ways once American troops have left the nation. The US says this group numbers about 10,000 but the Iraq government estimates it is about 50,000. The surge has accomplished certain tasks, but has it created conditions for a strong independent Iraq?

Cancel Sectarian Education In Kuwait Says Leader

A Shiite candidate, Kahled Al-Shatti, running for public office, urged authorities to cease teaching courses on religion because they tend to wind up being sectarian and result in not only non-Muslim, but Muslims, being categorized as “infidels.” He is running in a constituency in which Shiites constitute half the electorate, and Al Shatti is upset because school books in Kuwait have statements such as declaring “Shiites as infidels for visiting graves.” He recalled that in 1920, Kuwait rulers rejected demands by Wahhabi Salafists who wanted them to expel the “rejectionists,” the name used to describe Shiites.

A persistent issue in many Muslim nations is the close tie between religious leaders and the government. In most cases, if the Muslims are Sunni, then education winds up castigating Shiites along with non-Muslims are less than equal. The reverse holds true if Shiites are in power. Perhaps, separating church and state would aid in developing modern education systems and ending sectarian name calling in schools.

McCain Displays Foreign Policy Ignorance

John McCain has been portraying himself as the man with experience, after all, he has made more trips to Iraq than any other member of Congress. Senator McCain insists Barack Obama lacks his foreign policy experience and the United States needs someone as president who can make the right decisions when the phone rings at 3:00 a.m. in the morning. Of course, Americans hope whoever picks up the phone early in the morning actually knows what he or she is talking about. McCain spoke to reporters in Amman, Jordan, about his recent trip to Iraq. He told them it is “common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaida has been going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that’s well known. And it’s unfortunate.” Within seconds after uttering this nonsense, Senator Joseph Lieberman walked over to McCain, whispered in his ear, and the Republican candidate corrected himself. “I’m sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaida.”

Anyone who only has superficial knowledge of the Middle East knows Iran is a major center of Shiites while al-Qaida is a Sunni orgranization that hates Shiites. Joohn McCain is te ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee and he doesn’t even know the difference between Shiites and Sunnis. He apparently does not know the Shiite Iranian government gave assistance to American forces when they drove out the Sunni Taliban from Afghanistan.

The Senator from Arizona is so caught up with his supposed “foreign policy knowledge” that he apparently doesn’t even have a grasp of the basis of what is going on in the Middle East. Imagine an ignorant person answering the phone at 3:00 a.m. and making such a blunder. Of course, an ignorant person already made such a blunder– the George Bush invasion of Iraq

Iraq Sunni Councils Under The Gun From Iraq Govt.

There is increasing evidence the Sunni “Awakening Councils’ in Iraq, which are supported by US money, are feeling pressure from members of the Iraq Shiite government that may eventually result in an outbreak of violence between the oppposing groups. Sunni tribal leaders who oppose al-Qaida claim they are becoming the target of Shiite militias as well as their al-Qaida foes. There is no doubt the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki opposed the formation of the Awakening Councils and is dneying them financial support or recognition. According to Thamer al-Tamimi, one of the Council’s top leaders, the Sunni militia groups are under threat due to the upsurge in volence directed at their leaders and offices. Several recent al-Qaida car bombings were directed at these leaders.

There are moments when discussing Bush policies in Iraq when one can only wonder if anyone is in charge of the process. General Petraeus has led an American military effort to bring peace to Baghdad, but there are still many areas in Iraq where the level of violence is still high. From day one of the Iraq war there has been a failure to develop an overall long term plan for peace in the country.

A vivid example of the confusion surrounding Iraq policy is the recent agreement between Baghdad’s Mayor Saber al-Aisawia and the Iranian government for assistance in upgrading the level of municipal services. On one hand, Bush threatens Iran, on the other hand, the Iraqi government works with it. Is anyone in charge?