Nastiness Diagnosis. Anthropology. Religion. Gender. Justice. A Personal Notepad For the General Public.
Posted by Matthew McKnight
(Kurds, a nation without state)
On Thursday, President Obama announced that the United States will send three hundred military advisers to Iraq to help its Army stop the advances of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). At the same time, the President was careful to affirm that the U.S. would not send combat troops to Iraq. On this week’s Political Scene podcast, Steve Coll and Dexter Filkins join host Dorothy Wickenden to talk about the violence that has swept through Iraq in recent weeks and the U.S.’s political and military involvement in the Middle East.
President Obama has said that the solution to the problems in the region ought to be a political one. But Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki “has been sectarian to the core, and that’s really at the heart of this,” Filkins says. “You have to ask yourself the question when you see a meeting like that—Maliki sitting down with the Kurds, Maliki sitting down with a collection of Sunni leaders—is he really capable of reaching out and making a deal with these people after spending his entire adult life going in the other direction? I really don’t think so.”
“From 2003 until today, sectarian conflict in the Gulf region and in Iraq has just gotten darker and darker,” Coll says. No option seems to offer any light.
The Baiji refinery, 200 km north of the Baghdad, was a battlefield on Thursday as troops loyal to the Shia-led government held off insurgents from Isis who stormed the perimeter a day earlier, threatening national energy supplies.
Witnesses reported seeing plumes of smoke and said insurgents flew black banners across watch towers on the refinery, suggesting the facility had fallen into their control. This claim was denied by a top Iraqi security official, however, who claimed government forces had regained full control after fighting with militants.
Isis militants have overtaken towns across northern Iraq in a lightning-speed advance towards the capital of Baghdad.
Mr Maliki’s Shia-led government has faced widespread dissatisfaction from the nation’s sizable Sunni and Kurdish minorities. Mr Maliki, a Shia, has rejected charges of bias and instead said the crisis has led Iraqis to rediscover “national unity.”
Wiki Always Problematic
Nouri Kamil Mohammed Hasan al-Maliki (Arabic: نوري كامل محمد حسن المالكي; born 20 June 1950), also known as Jawad al-Maliki (جواد المالكي) or Abu Esraa (أبو إسراء) is the Prime Minister of Iraq and the secretary-general of the Islamic Dawa Party. Al-Maliki and his government succeeded the Iraqi Transitional Government. He is currently in his second term as Prime Minister. His first Cabinet was approved by the National Assembly and sworn in on 20 May 2006; his second Cabinet, in which he also holds the positions of acting Interior Minister, acting Defense Minister, and acting National Security Minister, was approved on 21 December 2010.
Al-Maliki began his political career as a Shia dissident under Saddam Hussein‘s dictatorship in the late 1970s and rose to prominence after he fled a death sentence into exile for 24 years. During his time abroad, he became a senior leader of Dawa, coordinated the activities of anti-Saddam guerrillas and built relationships with Iranian and Syrian officials whose help he sought in overthrowing Saddam. While having worked closely with United States and coalition forces in Iraq since their departure by the end of 2011, there have been claims that al-Maliki has been trying to gain control over the armed groups in his country as means to consolidate the Prime Minister’s power and marginalize Sunni opposition.
Iraq is 97% Muslim: 60-67% Shi’a, 33-40% Sunni.