ISIS, Maliki and the Sunnis

Two popular mistakes should be identified and avoided:

1. It is not merely ISIS against the Iraqi army. ISIS is the spearhead and the combat wise most experienced and effective single group of a variety of Sunni militias that are fighting the Iraqi armed forces. Not all of these 7 or 8 groups are radical islamists and sectarian. Many are tribal fighters disaffected with the central government which they accuse of having sidelined, oppressed and marginalized Sunnis for years. Others are former Baathists, thus more or less secular minded or nationalists, among them the Naqshbandy army.

2. Though it is true that especially the Maliki government is highly corrupt and has acted in sectarian ways, this is not merely because Malikis regime is backed by Iran or simply hates Sunnis. While ISIS as the name of a specific organization only exists since  a couple of years, the hatred ideology of takfiri salafism in post-Saddam Iraq is not that new. As early as in 2003 systematic and wide scale deadly attacks against Shia police, army recruits and especially ordinary civilians began to occur at least on a weekly basis. Suicide bombers and car bombs killed hundreds of Shia every month, targeting them in mosques, at market places, in Cafes and restaurants and even at funerals. Many Shia clerics were assassinated few months after the US invasion in 2003, e.g. Ayatollah Hakim:

Not all but many instances of power abuse at the hands of Shia militias and Iraqi armed forces were a reaction to the relentless and high casualty bombings of Shia areas. Neither Iran nor the Iraqi Shia clergy brought sectarianism to Iraq. It was the „achievement“ – and not an incidental one – of Wahhabi/Salafi ideologues from the GCC countries awash in money and relying on arabic mass media in shape of several satellite channels broadcasting anti-Shia and anti-Iranian hate mongering all around the clock.

It is wrong to declare Sunni opposition to the Iraqi regime as „terrorism“ and not every Sunni insurgent fighting the Iraqi army is a takfiri. The Sunni opposition is legitimate but it suffers from being associated with ISIS and similar minded sectarian jihadists.


Three-level proxy war in Syria

the NATO+GCC (mainly Saudi Arabia and Qatar) support structure for the syrian rebels has three depth levels based upon different, underlying agendas:
1. Destroy the Assad regime to weaken Iran and break the „shia-axis“ (Iran-Iraq-Syria-South Lebanon). The Main driver of this agenda is Saudi Arabia that even during Israel and Hezbollahs 33days war in 2006 criticized the lebanese resistance movement and together with Hosni Mubarak and King Abdullah of Jordan has been warning of a Shia crescent for years.
2. Destroy the Assad regime to neutralize Syria as the sole remaining nieghbour of Israel that has not officially made peace with Israel and has been a major supporter of palestinian and lebanese resistance. The destruction of Syria as regional power begun already in 2005 when Lebanons Hariri was murdered and western politicians and media immediately blamed the Syrians which finally led to the Syrian Armys departure from Lebanon. One year later Israel attacked Lebanon and with the exception of Hezbollah the regular lebanese armed forces did not defend the country. It is crystal clear that Hariris murder very well suited Israels plans and not at all brought any advantages for the Syrian. This aim of Syrias regime change is on the agenda of Israel and the US and also serves Saudi Arabia who welcomes any weakening of Hezbollah in inner-lebanese politics.
3. Destroy the Assad regime to remove one of the latest pro Russian/Chinese countries in the middle East and North Africa region. The future Syria should be transformed into a market for western economies and a source/transit country for petroleum and gas controlled by the West instead of Russia. Plus, it becomes impossible for Iran to transport gas through Syria on good terms. This agenda is promoted primarily by Qatar, but is also helpful to Saudi Arabia and the US.