Irak în spirala dezintegrării

Cu ochii ațintiți pe Brazilia, unele evenimente par a nu primi atenția cuvenită. Așa pare a fi cazul cu situația actuală din Irak. Rebelii ISIS au ocupat Mosul și se îndreaptă vertiginios spre Bagdad, în condițiile în care armata irakiană pare că nu e dispusă să lupte. În timp ce datele din teren abia devin inteligibile vă recomandăm un material care oferă contextul mai larg al acestui nou val de confruntări.

Iraq’s Long Unraveling

When Sunni militants seized the Iraqi city of Mosul at the start of the week, instantaneously creating half a million refugees and an existential crisis for the country, it came as a surprise. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been terrorizing Iraq for months now, but when it along with other jihadi forces and Baathists still loyal to Saddam Hussein’s regime took the nation’s second-largest city, the threat became more serious. As ISIS pledges to advance south toward Baghdad, Iraqi soldiers are in many cases abandoning their posts and stripping off their uniforms to escape. It’s a terrifying development, but it shouldn’t come as a complete shock. Iraq is disintegrating, and ISIS’s success is just a distillation of the problems the country has been struggling with for some time now.

The roots of the current violence go at least as far back as Iraq’s 2006-2007 civil war, which didn’t so much end as get put on hiatus. The spate of sectarian violence pitted the Shiite-majority government against Sunni militias and al-Qaeda in Iraq (a group from which ISIS emerged). The U.S. troop “surge” halted the bloodshed and got Sunni groups to side with the government against foreign jihadists. But it failed to produce a greater political resolution. With the departure of American forces from the country in 2011, these grave tensions reemerged.

Making matters worse, Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq’s Shiite prime minister, has been on a political warpath. His judiciary sentenced Iraq’s Sunni vice president to death in absentia on allegations of leading death squads. He’s also used ISIS’s incursions at the end of 2013 into Anbar province, in the country’s northwest, to crack down on Sunni protesters. At the same time, the autonomous northeastern region of Iraqi Kurdistan remains in conflict with the central government over its oil exports, namely a pipeline built by the regional government without national approval. In this poisonous atmosphere, violence has spiked, with almost 9,500 civilians killed from car bombs and other attacks in 2013 alone—the worst figures since 2008. Last month 799 Iraqis perished—in the highest death toll this year. ISIS’s seizure of the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi has only further stoked this violence. The Iraqi army has attempted to recapture both, with limited success.

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