Iraq is edging closer and closer to eradicating the Islamic State fighters from the major stronghold it has occupied in the nation, yet the question is not whether they will succeed in doing so, but instead about how soon the same warring will result against the same extremists when they return.
A victory by the military over the Sunni extremists in Mosul will not change the circumstances politically, as there is no agreement in place, or even a trust that could bring reconciliation between the Sunni minority and the government. Once the Islamic State is beaten, fears remain that another insurgency by the Sunni extremists could rise up again.
— Nathan Ruser (@Nrg8000) November 4, 2016
The New York Times shares as to the current situation and about what is attempting to be done to reconcile.
“While the fighting has raged near Mosul, diplomats, analysts and tribal sheikhs who oppose the Islamic State have been meeting in hotel ballrooms in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region, to start a discussion about reconciliation and political reforms. They agree, at least, that those are critical steps to prevent the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, from gaining new footholds in Sunni communities down the line.”
Following years of exclusion and abuse by the Iraqi government and the Shiite militia, many Iraqi Sunnis were welcoming to the Islamic State back in 2014 for the purpose of gaining protection. Many of the militants came from the same communities as the Sunnis who welcomed them.
Yet now, many Sunnis state that they are fearful of Islamic State rule and are prepared to welcome Shiite forces as protectors from the extremists. However, Sunnis are also still fearful of more attacks and exclusion from the government and its allies while they investigate Sunni ties to the Islamic State fighters. For this reason, there is doubt that the violence will end when extremists are pushed out.
Hassan Nusaif, a Sunni Arab and politician from Hawija, spoke on the matter.
“The problem is, the politics are against us. Let me be honest with you: The bloodshed will continue. This is the reality.”
The tension between the various groups from the battlefield, and those caused due to political agendas, have been a recurring theme within the nation since Americans became involved in the war in Iraq. As The Times notes, “each military victory seems to further shake loose Iraq’s divisions, leading to more political disagreement and fighting.”
Analysts warn that the Iraqi government and the Obama administration may be continuing the chaos within Iraq due to going against the Islamic State so forcefully prior to any arrangements being made to politically ease worries of Sunnis.
Ian A. Merritt and Kenneth M. Pollack shared in a paper that was published by Brookings Institutions that a defeat against the Islamic State within Mosul will “likely expose the deep sectarian tensions and grievances that have been somewhat masked by the common struggle against it.”
— Evelyne Barthe (@camboviet) November 4, 2016
Ramzy Mardini, of the Atlantic Council, warned of “a new, and perhaps more deadly, civil war…liberating Mosul under these circumstances will only result in I.S. or another radical entity returning in the future.”
It has been admitted by American officials that the political progress in the nation has taken a back seat to the military measures within Iraq. Brett McGurk, President Obama’s envoy to the international coalition fighting the Islamic State, spoke with reporters that the “problem here is that if you try to resolve all of these issues, Daesh will remain in Mosul for the foreseeable future and perhaps forever.”
The fears expressed only highlight the missteps and the chaotic mess that began with the American invasion of Iraq back in 2003.
[Featured Image by Carl Court/Getty Images]