"Democracy" was not at all what the US tried to establish during its years of occupation.
"After Iraq eliminates IS, will it be an Iranian province or a democratic country as the US envisages?"
That is amusing, considering that "democracy" was not at all what the US tried to establish during its years of occupation. I really hope that Iraqis can come together as Iraqis to establish something that reflects their common identity and common interests, retaining public control over their own resources (including their oil industry) and the future of Iraq.
The long-standing military partnership between the US and Iraq has started to show some cracks of late. The increasing role of Iran's Revolutionary Guards in Iraq's battle against Islamic State (IS) seems to have pushed the US forces out of the game.
In the recent Iraqi military campaigns against IS militants in Tikrit and Anbar provinces, an alliance of Iraqi government forces, Shi'ite militias, volunteer units and Iran was involved without US forces (AFP, March 5).
Participation of the two long-time enemies '“ the US and Iran '“ in fight against IS appears to go beyond eliminating the militant group. Both promote different agenda; the concern seems to focus on dominating Iraq's political future.
After Iraq eliminates IS, will it be an Iranian province or a democratic country as the US envisages? The answer lies on who dominates the outcome of the present crisis and the fierce competition between the two has already started.
The Iraqi military is now co-operating and getting orders from Iranian officials participating in the ground fight, due mainly to a shared vision of sectarian agenda. The militias have also lost hopes on the US who they say 'likes to postpone any military action against the IS.'
The Iranian-backed Badr brigade, who makes the majority of the militia's fighting force and whose name is associated with revenge killings of Sunni civilians, is believed to have spearheaded the war, which is likely to be followed by 'ethnic cleansing of Sunnis' in villages and towns captured.
The US has probably 'backed away' from the recent Iraqi attacks on Anbar province '“ the hotbed of IS militants and inhabited by Sunnis '“ owing to concern for civilian casualties as a result of sectarian infighting.
The US authorities have warned Iraq government on the consequences of 'sectarian score settling' by its militia.
Despite the US warning, however, the vendetta has already begun. A video posted on the Internet on March 4 showed Iraqi soldiers shooting to death at close range a captured child, aged 11, suspected to have fought with militants in the Diyala Province. (Al Arabiya, March 4).
American officials voice unease over the prominent role of Iran and its allied Shi'ite militias in the Tikrit operation. Iranian forces' participation in the assault in Iraqi's Sunni heartland could inflame the sectarian divide that the IS has exploited.
Moreover, Americans had shown discomfort over Iraqi government's inability to mobilise Sunni forces to join the fight, which is crucial to breaking the IS' hold on many Sunni areas (The New York Times, March 3).
Though most Sunni residents support the government's takeover of their area; they are not in favour of replacing them by Shi'ite militias whose intention is sectarian reprisals and vengeance.
The area of current showdown was the scene of a massacre of hundreds of captured Iraqi Shi'ite troops stationed at Camp Speicher by IS fighters last summer and many in the Shi'ite community have demanded revenge for those killings (Financial Times, March 3). Accordingly, those participating militias in the war appear to be geared up for sectarian killings.
What is happening in Iraq has similarities with the situation in Syria in 2012 where Iranian involvement 'turned the tide' in favour of the government, resulting in an open ended sectarian war of attrition.
Unless the Iraqi government takes steps to rein in its militia, we will witness unprecedented civilian casualties, which will further divide the country along sectarian lines.