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Crushing IS just won’t end insurgency in Iraq

Manish Rai 12:38 PM | 13 Mar, 2017
Crushing IS just won’t end insurgency in Iraq
The Iraqi military and its allies have nearly defeated Islamic State in its final and largest Iraqi stronghold of Mosul. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said during his recent visit to Mosul that the defeat of Islamic State militants in Mosul is “inevitable”.

Even Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has issued a statement acknowledging his group’s defeat in Iraq and calling on supporters to either flee or carry out suicide attacks. But a very significant question arises: Can decades long Sunni insurgency be ended just by crushing Islamic State? The answer is obviously not. According to a new report, a new Sunni insurgency is taking root in Iraq as the U.S.-led coalition continues to weaken the Islamic State's territorial strongholds, particularly in Mosul.

The Washington D.C.-based Institute for the Study of War warned that al Qaeda's top leadership will likely capitalize on ISIS's continued losses and attempt to gain influence within splinter militant groups opposed to the Shia-led government of Iraq. Al Qaeda has remained active in Iraq despite being overshadowed by ISIS. Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri last August urged its Syrian branch to rebuild alliances in Iraq and resume a "long guerrilla warfare."

Jaysh Rijal al-Tariqa al-Naqshbandia (JRTN), a neo-Baathist insurgent group, harnessed the 2013 protest movement now it’s preparing to stoke its own full fledge insurgency. JRTN earlier infused the anti-government protest movement with revolutionary rhetoric and traditional Baathist branding. It is very evident that a permissive environment is emerging for another Sunni insurgency in the vacuum of control left by ISIS, into which other actors would surely emerge. So just by defeating one group the Sunni insurgency can’t be put to an end. The grass root problems which fan this kind of insurgency has to be addressed if we want long term solutions.

Sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Shias is not a new phenomenon in Iraq but in last decade Sunnis have been marginalised and pushed to the edge in the country. Iraqi Sunnis are disillusioned by the monopolization of power by a few Shia elite. Sunnis fears they are at risk of becoming a dispossessed underclass in lands they once ruled and the repeat of the cycle of marginalization which was practiced by all Shia-dominated governments since 2004.

A Sunni politician in Baghdad says Americans raised the Kurds, Iran raised the Shias, but we, Sunnis, are like abused children.  “We’re the orphans of Iraq.”

Militia’s extrajudicial execution, forcibly disappearance and destruction of homes and property this is what Iraqi Sunnis are currently subject to. Amnesty international states in a report that thousands remained detained without trial on suspicion of links to IS. Torture in detention remained rife. Courts sentenced terrorism suspects to death, frequently after unfair trials.

Executions continued at a high rate. Sunni heartlands are mostly on the frontline or in areas under IS control, while hostility from Shias, Kurds and others make it difficult for them to establish new lives elsewhere. The numbers are uncertain, but a rough estimate indicates that of Iraq’s perhaps 7 million Sunni Arabs, some 2.5 million are displaced, many of them now in Iraqi Kurdistan where they have to renew permits every four months, as if in a foreign land. Some 1.5 million have left Iraq altogether. In the name of fighting terror, Kurdish and Shia militias chased Sunnis off their lands, first in southern and northern Iraq and then in its centre. Checkpoints put Sunnis under a Shia siege, and in large parts prevent a mass Sunni return.

Outcome will be disastrous if conditions are not set to help Sunni Arabs in Iraq to address their original and mounting grievances as increased levels of sectarian tensions increase the ability of insurgents to capitalize on social conditions. An end to Iraq’s sectarian warfare is a prerequisite to shift the political focus away from questions of state legitimacy and toward those of state efficiency, corruption, and service delivery. These are key to the stability and sustainability of the Iraqi state where nationalism should prevail above sects and religious beliefs.

Successful resettlement and reconstruction efforts that earn the Sunni population’s trust in the Iraqi Government can prevent Salafi Jihadi groups from finding openings to resurge. The U.S. should also help address the underlying issues that fuelled the Sunni insurgency and remain active in shaping Iraqi’s political reconciliation efforts and encouraging inclusive governance.

The U.S. should have the expectation that it will remain involved in some capacity in Iraq in order to ensure that anti-ISIS gains stick and that it has resolved the conditions that allowed insurgent groups to arise in 2013. Every stakeholder in the country agrees that Iraq needs a civil modern democratic society a state founded on the basis of equal citizenship for all its people. Without a durable post-ISIS strategy of national integration soon the country will be in a greater chaos.

Manish Rai
Manish Rai

The author is a columnist for Middle-East and Af-Pak region and Editor of geo-political news agency ViewsAround (VA) can be reached at manishraiva@gmail.com

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KARACHI - Following are the foreign currency exchange rates for US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound Sterling, U.A.E. Dirham, European Euro, and other foreign currencies in Pakistan open market on February 4, 2023 (Saturday).

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)

Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar ‎USD 279.9 283.2
Euro EUR 300.98 301.58
UK Pound Sterling GBP 337.01 337.71
U.A.E Dirham AED 75.14 75.44
Saudi Riyal SAR 73.55 73.85
Australian Dollar AUD 189 192
Bahrain Dinar BHD 712.72 720.69
Canadian Dollar CAD 200 202.2
China Yuan CNY 39.67 39.73
Danish Krone DKK 39.33 39.73
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 34.19 34.54
Indian Rupee INR 3.28 3.39
Japanese Yen JPY 2.5 2.54
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 878 887
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 62.83 63.43
New Zealand Dollar NZD 173.25 175.25
Norwegians Krone NOK 26.79 27.09
Omani Riyal OMR 696.08 704.08
Qatari Riyal ‎QAR 73.62 74.32
Singapore Dollar SGD 204 206
Swedish Korona SEK 25.61 25.91
Swiss Franc CHF 291.69 294.19
Thai Bhat THB 8.15 8.30

KARACHI – The price of a single tola of 24-karat gold in Pakistan is Rs 205,200 on Saturday. The price of 10 grams of 24k gold was recorded at Rs175,930.

Likewise, 10 grams of 22k gold were being traded for Rs167,318 while a single tola of 22-karat gold was being sold at Rs 195,157.

Note: The gold rate in Pakistan is fluctuating according to the international market so the price is never been fixed. The below rates are provided by local gold markets and Sarafa Markets of different cities.

City Gold Silver
Lahore PKR 205,200 PKR 2,430
Karachi PKR 205,200 PKR 2,430
Islamabad PKR 205,200 PKR 2,430
Peshawar PKR 205,200 PKR 2,430
Quetta PKR 205,200 PKR 2,430
Sialkot PKR 205,200 PKR 2,430
Attock PKR 205,200 PKR 2,430
Gujranwala PKR 205,200 PKR 2,430
Jehlum PKR 205,200 PKR 2,430
Multan PKR 205,200 PKR 2,430
Bahawalpur PKR 205,200 PKR 2,430
Gujrat PKR 205,200 PKR 2,430
Nawabshah PKR 205,200 PKR 2,430
Chakwal PKR 205,200 PKR 2,430
Hyderabad PKR 205,200 PKR 2,430
Nowshehra PKR 205,200 PKR 2,430
Sargodha PKR 205,200 PKR 2,430
Faisalabad PKR 205,200 PKR 2,430
Mirpur PKR 205,200 PKR 2,430

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