United States leaders have rightly said that defeating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and resolving Iraq’s deepening civil war will require urgent political change in Baghdad. But the military assistance that Iran and Russia are speeding to Shiite groups in Iraq imperils that change.
It now appears that a majority of Iraq’s political parties and Shiite religious authorities blame Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s authoritarian tendencies and exclusion of mainstream Sunni groups for the crisis, and they seek his replacement as the starting point for resolving it.
But just as this political majority has begun to form against him, Iran and Russia have extended al-Maliki material and political support that insulates him from domestic political pressure and may even embolden him to try to stay on.… Seguir leyendo »
Observers around the world are stunned by the speed and scope of this week’s assaults on every major city in the upper Tigris River Valley — including Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city — by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. But they shouldn’t be. The collapse of the Iraqi government’s troops in Mosul and other northern cities in the face of Sunni militant resistance has been the predictable culmination of a long deterioration, brought on by the government’s politicization of its security forces.
The politicization of the Iraqi military
For more than five years, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his ministers have presided over the packing of the Iraqi military and police with Shiite loyalists — in both the general officer ranks and the rank and file — while sidelining many effective commanders who led Iraqi troops in the battlefield gains of 2007-2010, a period during which al Qaeda in Iraq (the forerunner of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) was brought to the brink of extinction.… Seguir leyendo »