Infinity: The Views of a Dreamer
The Second Avoidable War
Written by Aaron Peterson
Airstrikes streaming over head, raining down on towns in Iraq and Syria– US planes doing business as usual. Déjà vu? Complete repeats of 11 years ago, when Iraq was first put on the board for invasion under the false pretenses of WMDs. Which has now become one of the most mocked points in the 21st century for their very lack of existence. Never ending aggression is the name of the game, and it just continues with no real plot at this point… Before the justification was “al-Qaeda, this and that mixed in with a healthy dose of 9/11″… Now countries such as Libya and Ukraine have found themselves in the same boat as Afghanistan and Iraq. Nations that are for all intents are purpose under constant siege.
The familiar name of Iraq is in the crosshairs again by the United States government, various oil sheikhdoms and NATO. The same old spook story, in a different year. In the name of “beating back the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant.” The renewal of aggression finds itself being paraded as unavoidable… In the almost intellectually insulting wording from the White House’s Barack Obama, “The United States did not foresee the rise of ISIS.” Directly going against Barack Obama’s and the White House’s mythology is the truth, for years on, it was warned that by meddling in Syrian affairs and through the backing of violent Salafi militants, the United States and it’s allies would be responsible for continued instability in Iraq. Almost prophetically, the predictions were on par with sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Shi’ites being at an all time low and any chances of dialogue being out of the window at the moment.
“Unavoidable” is a tragic word in this case… When the truth is that there were several chances to remedy the situation in Iraq alone which were either directly ignored or just played off. Going back to 2009-2011 when the US backed coalition was beginning it’s withdrawal from the Iraqi nation, there were a myriad of negotiations between a number of the Special Groups including the infamous Mahdi Army of al-Sadr, which had been even before the withdrawal engaged in negotiations between American and Iraqi forces. al-Sadr’s Islamic Army which had been involved in numerous battles with the United States backed occupation forces in Iraq.
At the time al-Sadr, the spiritual force behind both the Mahdi Army and the Promised Day Brigades was approached for negotiation, al-Sadr found himself cheered forward as a important figure for building peace and stability in the war torn Iraqi nation. Despite past and even ongoing actions at the time, Shi’ite Special Groups were not only approached for negotiations, but many of the Special Group’s prisoners of war were granted clemency and brought into the fold of mainstream politics.
Inversely, a double standard was imposed on the predominantly Sunni Islamic and Nationalist forces who had resisted the US occupation in Iraq, namely The Islamic Army of Iraq, Hamas in Iraq, The Army of the Men of the Naqshabandi Order , The 1920 Revolutionary Brigades and the rival Ba’athist organization ‘The Return’. Predominantly Sunni militias compared to their Shi’ite counterparts faced crackdowns, summary killings and vast repression when attempting to call for negotiations and sit downs with the government of Iraq to negotiate a settlement to end the sectarian hostility and work towards a truly independent and stable Iraq. In the case of “The Return”, a Ba’athist organization which was made up of both Sunnis and Shi’ites in a non-sectarian fashion, community activists who were uninvolved in armed activity found themselves arrested, tortured and facing trivial sentences. Double standards were clearly at work in this case, when the Shi’ite Special Groups were given by sections of the Iraqi government far better treatment. The direct inability and perhaps arrogance to comprehend the socio-economic problems and alienation of Sunni Iraqis who have in many cases felt as if second class citizens in their own country in the post-Saddam era, was the powder keg waiting to explode.
Was the upsurge of ISIS avoidable? By far, if in 2009-2011 had the American backed forces and the Iraqi government worked in the interests of peace to bring the non-IS, National Jihadists, Ba’athist guerillas and other organizations into negotiations on equal grounds for a discussion on the future or Iraq, an upsurge in violence could have been avoided from the get go. Not only avoided, but a government of national unity based on a more fair and balanced power sharing agreement with those on the underground engaged in conflict getting proper representation to work in the frame of a political process. National dialogue, development and working towards co-existence instead of further bombing campaigns with the same likely results as before could have been a triumph for the Iraqi people and for all the parties involved in building it.
In opposition, with the ignoring of these options which had been there. The Iraqi and Syrian people now face death at the hands of sectarian militias, and now to make matters worse, to be caught in the cross fire of US backed airstrikes raining down on Iraqi and Syrian villages. The way of perpetual warfare prevails once more. All that remains offered by these airstrikes which have been presented as glamorous, is more fuel to the fire. The airstrikes not only make the living conditions of desperate Iraqis and Syrians worse than they already are with the destruction of homes, livelihood and deaths of family members, but the air strikes play directly into the hand of ISIS, the supposed target of the air strikes. For ISIS, the foreign airstrikes mean legitimacy… It reaffirms the idea of ISIS that they are being attacked on all sides by groups who their rhetoric constantly blasts and with growing anger among Iraqi Sunnis by the foreign air strikes, it only draws in new recruits to continue the cycle of killing.
Who stands to gain in Iraq? For the people in Iraq who find themselves caught in the crossfire, no one stands to gain. Everyone stands to lose what little property and dignity they have left, perhaps even their lives. The ISIS? The brutal Salafi militant group has only but the world to gain, with a picture of being attacked on all sides, which only serves to create further legitimacy and discontent and draw more angry confused and impoverished Iraqi youth into it’s ranks.
With conditions in Iraq rapidly deteriorating it is unlikely to improve soon. The American tradition of bombing first and thinking later needs a serious rethinking. As, the main picture of the entire situation and the very context is being ignored. 11 years of bombing poor countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq with little to no infrastructure, with no real avail… The piling up of Afghan, Iraqi and US military deaths just stands as a testimony that the method of brutality has gotten nowhere. In fact, it has worsened the situation dramatically. Real diplomacy, based on mutual respect that is open ended and doesn’t seek to crucify needs to take place. If it doesn’t, more of the same– perpetual, never ending warfare and horror should not only be anticipated, but one would be a fool as to not expect it.
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