Showing posts tagged as "Iraq"

Showing posts tagged Iraq

28 Apr
"Baghdad has played up al-Qaeda’s role to justify responding with force to a political challenge."

—Maria Fantappie, Crisis Group’s Iraq Analyst, Iraq: Falluja’s Faustian Bargain

Iraq: Falluja’s Faustian Bargain
Baghdad/Brussels  |   28 Apr 2014
An alliance between the local military council and the jihadi ISIL group is keeping the besieging Iraqi army at bay around Falluja, but unless Sunni alienation is addressed, the city risks a new round of devastating conflict. 
In its latest report, Iraq: Falluja’s Faustian Bargain, the International Crisis Group examines the precarious situation in the Anbar province city that in 2004 experienced the worst fighting of the U.S. occupation. In December 2013, after the police cleared a year-long anti-government sit-in, protesters took to the streets. The army was sent in, and the extremists of the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) took advantage. A self-reinforcing cycle has taken root: jihadi activity encourages government truculence that pushes the city to seek protection from jihadis, whose world-view most residents reject. After Wednesday’s provincial elections, this political and security impasse must be addressed before a miscalculation or calculated escalation produces extensive bloodshed. 
The report’s major findings and recommendations are:
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, to revive his waning political fortunes, exaggerated, and so exacerbated, Falluja’s threat to national stability. This enabled him to rally Shiites against alleged terrorists, divide and politically neutralise Sunnis, redeem the army’s image as defender of the nation and lobby the international community, with its often myopic terrorism focus.
Maliki has staked re-election on a crudely sectarian counter-terrorism campaign from which neither he nor the Sunni political spectrum is likely to retreat.
After the 30 April parliamentary elections, the government should work with Falluja’s military council – which itself should repair relations with Sunni rivals – to push ISIL from the city.
The Baghdad government, UN and U.S. should distinguish ISIL from the city as a whole and its military council, not bundle them together in an indiscriminate “war on terror”.
The Falluja situation is symptomatic of the worsening violence in Iraq, which needs to be seen and addressed for what it is: a consequence of the state’s deep political flaws, not their root cause.
“Baghdad has again played up al-Qaeda’s role to justify responding with force to a political challenge. The international community, by and large, backs this approach, partly as a way to hurt al-Qaeda”, notes Crisis Group Iraq analyst Maria Fantappie. “This is empowering the opposition’s most radical voices”. 
“The elections, at least for the Sunni community, will not be credible, not only because Anbar is a virtual war zone but also because political violence and an obsessive concern with security have warped Iraqi political reality”, says Acting Middle East Program Director Robert Blecher. “Beyond elections, Iraq needs a new political compact to break the cycle of violence tragically exemplified in Falluja”.
FULL REPORT

Iraq: Falluja’s Faustian Bargain

Baghdad/Brussels  |   28 Apr 2014

An alliance between the local military council and the jihadi ISIL group is keeping the besieging Iraqi army at bay around Falluja, but unless Sunni alienation is addressed, the city risks a new round of devastating conflict. 

In its latest report, Iraq: Falluja’s Faustian Bargain, the International Crisis Group examines the precarious situation in the Anbar province city that in 2004 experienced the worst fighting of the U.S. occupation. In December 2013, after the police cleared a year-long anti-government sit-in, protesters took to the streets. The army was sent in, and the extremists of the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) took advantage. A self-reinforcing cycle has taken root: jihadi activity encourages government truculence that pushes the city to seek protection from jihadis, whose world-view most residents reject. After Wednesday’s provincial elections, this political and security impasse must be addressed before a miscalculation or calculated escalation produces extensive bloodshed. 

The report’s major findings and recommendations are:

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, to revive his waning political fortunes, exaggerated, and so exacerbated, Falluja’s threat to national stability. This enabled him to rally Shiites against alleged terrorists, divide and politically neutralise Sunnis, redeem the army’s image as defender of the nation and lobby the international community, with its often myopic terrorism focus.

Maliki has staked re-election on a crudely sectarian counter-terrorism campaign from which neither he nor the Sunni political spectrum is likely to retreat.

After the 30 April parliamentary elections, the government should work with Falluja’s military council – which itself should repair relations with Sunni rivals – to push ISIL from the city.

The Baghdad government, UN and U.S. should distinguish ISIL from the city as a whole and its military council, not bundle them together in an indiscriminate “war on terror”.

The Falluja situation is symptomatic of the worsening violence in Iraq, which needs to be seen and addressed for what it is: a consequence of the state’s deep political flaws, not their root cause.

“Baghdad has again played up al-Qaeda’s role to justify responding with force to a political challenge. The international community, by and large, backs this approach, partly as a way to hurt al-Qaeda”, notes Crisis Group Iraq analyst Maria Fantappie. “This is empowering the opposition’s most radical voices”. 

“The elections, at least for the Sunni community, will not be credible, not only because Anbar is a virtual war zone but also because political violence and an obsessive concern with security have warped Iraqi political reality”, says Acting Middle East Program Director Robert Blecher. “Beyond elections, Iraq needs a new political compact to break the cycle of violence tragically exemplified in Falluja”.

FULL REPORT

6 Mar
LINK

Inside the Middle East: Q&A with Maria Fantappie

Maria Fantappie, Crisis Group’s Iraq Analyst, discusses the situation in Iraq with Jennifer Rowland of Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

3 Feb
Catch up on the world’s conflicts in this month’s CrisisWatch map.

Catch up on the world’s conflicts in this month’s CrisisWatch map.

29 Jan
Kurdish oil flow raises the stakes for Maliki | Justin Vela
Nouri Al Maliki may have to soften his opposition to a new Kurdish oil pipeline if he wants Iraqi Kurds to support him for a third term as Iraq’s prime minister.
Running from the Taq-Taq oilfield in the autonomous territory ruled by Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to the border with Turkey, the pipeline allows Iraq’s Kurds to sell their oil on international markets independently of Baghdad.
Oil began flowing through the pipeline in early January, a move that infuriated the central government, which wants control over all energy exports.
But a general election scheduled for April 30 gives the Kurds the political leverage to extract concessions from Mr Al Maliki, since he is likely to need their support to continue in office.
FULL ARTICLE (The National)
Photo: Al Jazeera English/flickr

Kurdish oil flow raises the stakes for Maliki | Justin Vela

Nouri Al Maliki may have to soften his opposition to a new Kurdish oil pipeline if he wants Iraqi Kurds to support him for a third term as Iraq’s prime minister.

Running from the Taq-Taq oilfield in the autonomous territory ruled by Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to the border with Turkey, the pipeline allows Iraq’s Kurds to sell their oil on international markets independently of Baghdad.

Oil began flowing through the pipeline in early January, a move that infuriated the central government, which wants control over all energy exports.

But a general election scheduled for April 30 gives the Kurds the political leverage to extract concessions from Mr Al Maliki, since he is likely to need their support to continue in office.

FULL ARTICLE (The National)

Photo: Al Jazeera English/flickr

10 Jan
US should aid Iraq’s Maliki, but conditions must apply | Boston Globe
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki bears much of the blame for the current crisis in Iraq. His decision to arrest Ahmed al-Alwani, a powerful Sunni member of parliament, on Dec. 28 inflamed the Sunni population. Alwani had accused Maliki, a Shiite, of treating Sunnis like second-class citizens and had assembled a crowd of protesters. Maliki’s crackdown, which included a raid on Alwani’s house that killed his brother, caused a predictable backlash. Many Sunni leaders, long disillusioned with Maliki’s rule, called for the central government to be expelled from a Sunni province. Amid the popular anger, Al Qaeda-linked fighters in neighboring Syria saw an opportunity. They streamed into the Iraqi cities of Fallujah and Ramadi and declared themselves in charge.
FULL ARTICLE (Boston Globe)
Photo: Truth Out/flickr

US should aid Iraq’s Maliki, but conditions must apply | Boston Globe

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki bears much of the blame for the current crisis in Iraq. His decision to arrest Ahmed al-Alwani, a powerful Sunni member of parliament, on Dec. 28 inflamed the Sunni population. Alwani had accused Maliki, a Shiite, of treating Sunnis like second-class citizens and had assembled a crowd of protesters. Maliki’s crackdown, which included a raid on Alwani’s house that killed his brother, caused a predictable backlash. Many Sunni leaders, long disillusioned with Maliki’s rule, called for the central government to be expelled from a Sunni province. Amid the popular anger, Al Qaeda-linked fighters in neighboring Syria saw an opportunity. They streamed into the Iraqi cities of Fallujah and Ramadi and declared themselves in charge.

FULL ARTICLE (Boston Globe)

Photo: Truth Out/flickr

7 Jan
Maria Fantappie

Al-Qaida's New Rise In The Middle East

Maria Fantappie, our Iraq analyst, appeared today on the Kojo Nnamdi Show to discuss recent fighting in the city of Fallujah. In this clip, she talks about how both Nouri al-Maliki and Al-Qaeda are benefiting from the events unfolding in the city. She raises the question: are U.S. military supplies going to help in the struggle against Al-Qaeda or just bolster Maliki’s power?

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6 Jan

Iraq analyst Maria Fantappie spoke to HuffPost Live about the latest fighting in Fallujah. Watch here: huff.lv/1dJxTw5

8 Nov
Check out Crisis Group’s Weekly Update, a summary of everything we have published over the past week.

Check out Crisis Group’s Weekly Update, a summary of everything we have published over the past week.

3 Sep
Joost Hiltermann

Chemical Weapons And Civilians: The Invisible Threat

A quarter century ago, Joost Hiltermann of the International Crisis Group investigated chemical attacks against civilians in Iraq, and says recent images from Syria bring back the “horrible events” of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

FULL INTERVIEW (NPR) 

Photo: Béatrice Dillies au Kurdistan/Flickr

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