Opinion: As the sun sets on Islamic State - what's the future of Iraq?
Now that forces in Iraq have captured one of the last remaining strongholds of the Islamic State group the future of the post IS Iraq still hangs in the balance.
It should not be forgotten that the divide between Shia and Sunni communities resulted in many areas responding positively to the Islamic State group’s take over because the only other option was to face the Shia militia’s Popular mobilization forces called the Al-Hasr Al- Shabi who have equally carried out atrocities.
Evidence collected by independent sources and seen by MUSLIM EYE indicate that the atrocities and illegal abduction and killing of Sunnis, some suspected of being members of the Islamic Sate group remain a huge abuse of human rights.
Here’s an extract from a report quoting a Sunni tribal leader,
“Al Hasdh al Shaabi kills people. They killed them in Fallujah. They killed/salute around 70 people in Fallujah… A Shiite member of the parliament ordered Shiite militia forces to kills Sunnis in Fallujah… We have videos and photos. They broke hands or legs of the people. Almost half of the people’s arms or legs were broken…Some people in Fallujah contacted me by phone and told me that it had been 15 days that they did not have anything to eat.”
Ironically, some fear the departure of the Islamic State group leaves the way open for rampaging Shia groups to terrorise Sunni groups. A call for Sunni enclaves and regional autonomy may well be a demand as Iraq seeks to rebuild and restructure its country.
To all intent and purpose Iraq continues to have a dysfunctional government but the end of IS has already brought sings that contention between rival factions may lead to partition of the country or an inescapable decent in to sectarian war between the Kurds, Shia and Sunni groups.
The expectation is that IS will retreat to urban guerrilla warfare a move that might precipitate further clampdowns against the Sunni population and raise the prospect of continued instability and a hardening of position against the central government of Al-Abadi.
The recent decision by the Kurdistan region to stage a popular referendum was the part of the deal struck with the United States under the Obama government to fight the Islamic State in exchange for autonomy. However, neither the US, Iraq or Turkey have the appetite to allow the Kurds to take control of a portion of Iraq territory. The fear remains that Syria and Turkish Kurds would also make a push for independence if Iraqi Kurdistan was established or Syrian Kurdistan for that matter.
The expectation that Iraq will disintegrate into is the view supported not just by Sunni but Christians too. “The situation after Isis will be more dangerous than when Isis itself was here,” says Idris Merza, head of the Assyrian Democratic Movement, a Christian party. “If each [political force] in Iraq wants to protect only its interest and the interests of its supporters, then we will lose and we will never regain a safe environment here.”
It remains to be seen in the next coming weeks or months how Iraq can stabilise its country and resolve major and minor difference threatening its stability.