Former Minister of the French government, Jean-Pierre Chevènement on i24news on 2015-06-11:
“We have to give Iraq Sunnis their place in a federal state.”
“We have to address the division of the population, which is something the US General Petreaus had done .”
2015-06-01 | BBC News | by Jonathan Marcus
During the Iraq war, Mr Petraeus (…) secured support from Sunni tribesmen against al-Qaeda.
But when asked to compare IS with its predecessor, al-Qaeda in Iraq - which Gen Petraeus was instrumental in defeating - he said the latter "had much greater roots in Iraq and much greater numbers than IS".
He also greatly expanded the Anbar Awakening, the mobilisation of Sunni tribesmen to combat al-Qaeda.
Political change has to start at the top. Above all, Gen Petraeus says, "the Sunni Arabs have to be given incentives to support the new Iraq rather than to oppose it".
"Are we doing all that we can to empower and support those Iraqi leaders, starting with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who recognise the need to bring the Sunni Arab population back into the fabric of Iraqi society? And, most importantly, are our military elements and structures sufficiently supporting the political component and vice versa?"
In Mosul, a city of nearly two million people, Petraeus and the 101st employed classic counterinsurgency methods to build security and stability, including conducting targeted kinetic operations and using force judiciously, jump-starting the economy, building local security forces, staging elections for the city council within weeks of their arrival, overseeing a program of public works, reinvigorating the political process, and launching 4,500 reconstruction projects in Iraq. This approach can be attributed to Petraeus, who had been steeped in nation-building during his previous tours in nations such as Bosnia and Haiti and thus approached nation-building as a central military mission and who was "prepared to act while the civilian authority in Baghdad was still getting organized," according to Michael Gordon of The New York Times. Some Iraqis gave Petraeus the nickname 'King David', which was later adopted by some of his colleagues. In 2004, Newsweek stated that "It's widely accepted that no force worked harder to win Iraqi hearts and minds than the 101st Air Assault Division led by Petraeus."
2015-05-24 | The Guardian | by Martin Chulov
“Before the Islamic State came along, we were the animals of the Shias,” said a surgeon speaking from the Isis-controlled Iraqi city of Fallujah. “No matter what we said or believed, we were treated as Isis anyway,” he said of the Shia-led government. “Well, we may as well be with them, because the government will never come to help. They have more power and authority than Baghdad has had since Saddam.”
The surgeon’s views were echoed by residents of Deir Azzour in eastern Syria, who were contacted by phone. “I can see the appeal of Isis,” said one man who called himself Abu Ayman. “As much as I don’t like them, I can see that they are leading some Sunni communities towards a dignity that no government will give them.”
The Guardian 2015-02-22
"Beyond the village, at what the Kurds call Kiske junction, is the Isis heartland, a 12-mile stretch of farms and villages that spreads towards Mosul and then beyond into Anbar province and west into Syria.
…those doing the bulk of the fighting now are far from convinced that they should also be the ones to go further.
“We are not naive,” said the chancellor of the Kurdish region security council, Masrour Barzani, from his position an hour or so away from the front lines. “We are very careful not to take any Arab lands. We are not going to go into Mosul alone. We are not agents."
In six months of fighting against Isis, Kurdish leaders have already faced a series of reckonings: what to do about the contested city of Kirkuk, which they now control after the Iraqi army abandoned it in June; how to defend their seat of government, Irbil, which was nearly stormed by the jihadis two months later (...).
The Peshmerga have lost more than 1,000 members since August, with more than 4,500 others injured. The battle ahead will certainly add to that. Since early February, Kurdish forces have recaptured roughly 400 square miles of land seized by Isis, including the Mosul dam, which supplies water to most of Iraq.
By Rafy; User:NordNordWest [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Did ISIL defeat the Iraqi army in Mosul?
We identified a number of institutional and political challenges* that left the 2nd Division of the Iraqi Army—which bears primary responsibility for military operations against ISIL in Neneveh province where Mosul is located—vulnerable to the sudden collapse it experienced in early June. Corruption, neglect, and a shortfall of combat-effective resources and personnel crippled the Iraqi military’s capability and widened ISIL’s range of strategic options in Nineveh.
*Institutional and political challenges of the 2nd Division of the Iraqi Army
From the UN Security Council on Iraq Briefing by the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Iraq and Head of UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), N.E.Mladenov, on 2015-02-28 (full text at the link https://nmladenov.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/my-unyielding-optimism-for-iraq-stems-from-the-spirit-of-its-people/ | cf section below)
"Whilst pursuing these objectives, Iraq’s most pressing goal remains to win back territory taken by ISIL. In this respect, the Government has taken important measures for security sector reform. The authorities have pledged to provide military and financial assistance to local leaders and tribal fighters to aid their struggle against ISIL. Since the beginning of the year, at least 4,000 Iraqis from Anbar and Ninewa have signed up as part of the popular forces, an important first step in securing local forces for the liberation of Iraq’s western provinces.
I encourage the Government to empower and quickly provide all necessary means to these local fighters as they seek to free their homes from ISIL while also supporting recovery and reconstruction. I also encourage the Council of Representatives to adopt the necessary legislation to establish the Iraqi National Guard so as to allow the provinces to take greater responsibility for their own security. In January the Government submitted to Parliament a bill to this effect."
(Former) Special Representative of the Secretary General for Iraq and Head of UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI)
Briefing of the UN Security Council (2015-02-18)
Mr. President of the Security Council,
As I complete my tenure as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, to borrow a phrase, I remain a paranoid optimist. An optimist because despite the year-long security crisis, Iraq’s political, community and religious leaders have coalesced to save their country from terror.Today, more than ever, there is a growing understanding that Iraq can only move forward based on the principles of democracy, rule of law, respect for diversity and inclusivity. This understanding has been increasingly evident since the formation of a new national unity Government set on addressing many long-standing concerns of the Iraqi people. I am however also paranoid that things can go wrong — ISIL remains in control of most of Iraq’s western provinces, the fragile efforts towards unity and reconciliation need to be carefully nurtured if they are to bear fruit while the economy has been hit by falling oil prices and skyrocketing security costs.
Since its formation in September of last year, the Government has taken important steps in fulfilling its agenda. It has engaged countries in the region, all with a view to regaining the confidence of Iraq’s population in the political process and promoting stability. Whilst pursuing these objectives, Iraq’s most pressing goal remains to win back territory taken by ISIL. In this respect, the Government has taken important measures for security sector reform. The authorities have pledged to provide military and financial assistance to local leaders and tribal fighters to aid their struggle against ISIL. Since the beginning of the year, at least 4,000 Iraqis from Anbar and Ninewa have signed up as part of the popular forces, an important first step in securing local forces for the liberation of Iraq’s western provinces.
I encourage the Government to empower and quickly provide all necessary means to these local fighters as they seek to free their homes from ISIL while also supporting recovery and reconstruction. I also encourage the Council of Representatives to adopt the necessary legislation to establish the Iraqi National Guard so as to allow the provinces to take greater responsibility for their own security. In January the Government submitted to Parliament a bill to this effect.
An exclusively military solution to the problem of ISIL is impossible; indeed, it would be counterproductive. I therefore welcome the consistent calls for unity by the President, the Prime Minister and the Speaker of Parliament. Any effort to achieve unity through reconciliation must be based on the Constitution and the full participation of political, religious and community leaders from across Iraq. A particular focus must be put on increasing the role and participation of women. As such, UNAMI has strongly supported the Government’s national reconciliation and social cohesion agenda.
In addition to these developments, the relation between the Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government has been improving following their historic agreement on energy exports and revenue-sharing. Improved cooperation is also evident between the Iraqi security forces, the Peshmerga, volunteers, local communities and the forces of the anti-ISIL international coalition. This cooperation has been key in dealing with the most recent security threats, including to the city of Kirkuk, the al-Assad air base and elsewhere in the country.
Some of Iraq’s recent military gains in Diyala, Salah al-Din and Ninewa governorates have been marred by claims that militias have killed unarmed civilians, and intentionally destroyed property and places of worship.
It is in this respect that I welcome the Government’s decision to conduct a full investigation into the alleged massacre in Barwanah, Diyala. To paraphrase Prime Minister al-Abadi — a crime is a crime, no matter who has committed it and all responsible should be held accountable. It is also encouraging that today, as we speak, Iraq’s President, Prime Minister and Speaker of Parliament are holding a joint meeting to identify measures to address these events in the recent days.
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Comment: Note the role of a military coalition of Sunni tribes in western Iraq, known as the Awakening Councils in defeating al-Qaeda in Iraq, the ISIS group’s predecessor.
In Iraq, in addition to the chaos after the US invasion, the emergence of IS owes much to the abusive sectarian rule of the former prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, and the resulting radicalisation of Sunnis. With Iranian backing, Maliki took personal control of Iraqi security forces and supported the formation of Shia militias. Many of those militias brutally persecuted the minority Sunni population. They rounded up and arbitrarily detained Sunnis under vague laws and, along with government counter-terrorism units, summarily executed many. Meanwhile, the Iraqi air force indiscriminately bombed predominately Sunni cities, beginning in Anbar in January 2014.
The group’s predecessor, al-Qaeda in Iraq, was largely defeated by a combination of US military pressure and a military coalition of Sunni tribes in western Iraq, known as the Awakening Councils. But under Maliki many of the tribes which defeated the organisation became so fearful of slaughter and persecution by pro-government forces that, when conflict resumed in 2014, they felt safer fighting those forces than IS. Western governments, eager to put their own military involvement in Iraq behind them, largely shut their eyes to the worsening sectarian abuses overseen by Baghdad—and continued to ply it with arms.
Today, there is broad recognition among policy-makers and the public that this indifference to atrocities under Maliki was a mistake. Maliki’s replacement as premier, Haider al-Abadi, has pledged more inclusive governance. I recently met him, and he largely acknowledged the problems of sectarian abuse—though lamented limits to his power to address them. He has taken some positive steps, dropping charges against the media, vowing to release prisoners held without warrant and making some effort to stop the indiscriminate bombing. Just last week, he publicly said he had “zero” tolerance for summary executions by the Shia militias, calling them “no less dangerous” than IS “terrorism” and ordering a public investigation into the alleged massacre of 72 civilians by militias and security forces in Diyala province.
These are important steps but abusive sectarianism in Iraq has not ended, even as Western military aid continues to flow. Maliki still serves as one of Iraq’s three vice-presidents, without any investigation of his role in past abuses. Meanwhile, the weak government, its army a shambles, has vastly increased its reliance on the Shia militias. They remain the lead ground forces fighting IS, even as they kill and cleanse Sunnis from entire villages and neighbourhoods. Until these atrocities end, the Shia militias are likely to do more to aid IS recruitment than to defeat the jihadist group on the battlefield.
It ought to be possible to work with Iran as well. Iran should have no interest in the slaughter by the militias it supports, if not for principled reasons then on the pragmatic basis that this is bolstering IS. In addition, Abadi should be encouraged to follow the call of the European Union for Iraq to join the International Criminal Court—hardly a panacea but at least a threat of international prosecution, at a time when domestic courts are too weak and intimidated to extend the rule of law to the Shia militias. The US government has supported empowering the ICC to address atrocities in Syria but has yet to broach the issue with regard to Iraq.
Not to be confused with the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The International Criminal Court (ICC or ICCt) is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal that sits in The Hague in the Netherlands. The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
The ICC is intended to complement existing national judicial systems and it may therefore only exercise its jurisdiction when certain conditions are met, such as when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute criminals or when the United Nations Security Council or individual states refer investigations to the Court.
Next week (February 2–8) is World Interfaith Harmony Week. It is an opportunity to overcome our differences through interreligious dialogue, promote mutual understanding and build a culture of #peace. #Iraq
Internally displaced people (IDP) praying in Baharka camp, Eid 2014.
Photo: Fabienne Vinet / UNAMI PIO
“Today’s annual conference comes at a time when #Iraq is under threat from terrorism, violence and sectarianism. It is an opportunity to reject these threats to Iraq’s rich culture of #tolerance, harmony and coexistence”, SRSG for Iraq Mr. Mladenov said at an official ceremony hosted by the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq and the Hakim Foundation to mark the Interfaith Harmony Week.
"Iraq holds a special place in the history of world religions, as a holy land from which religions and prophets have grown. Respect for diversity and peaceful dialogue are essential if humanity is to cooperate in addressing the global challenges of today."
SRSG for #Iraq Nickolay Mladenov at the launch of Interfaith Harmony Week in Baghdad
Speech delivered by Mr. Mladenov, Special Representative of the Secretary General for Iraq and Head of UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI)
at the Interfaith Harmony Conference
"Excellencies, President of Iraq Dr Fu’ad Ma’soum, Prime Minister of Iraq, Dr Haider Al-Ibadi, Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, Dr Saleem Al-Jubouri, His Eminence, Sayid Ammar Al-Hakeem, our host (...)"
"Today, Iraq’s Government of national unity is facing-up to the challenges of terror and extremism. The world has shown solidarity with Iraq as over 60 countries -- allies, neighbours and friends, have come to support you in your just cause against terrorism. But today Iraq is also moving to address the root causes of violence, it is engaging on an agenda of inclusion and unity.
I welcome the recent decision to investigate the alleged massacre in Diyala Province as a sign of the Government's willingness to assert the rule of law, protect the lives and rights of citizens, and ensure that those who have fled from ISIL can return home in safety and secuirty.
As the world has shown solidarity with Iraq against ISIL, so will the international community show solidarity with the efforts to support recovery and reconstruction in the areas freed from ISIL. The United Nations and the Government are working on this together.
Most importantly, the leaders of Iraq must together deliver on the national reconciliation agenda and address challenges of poverty, rule of law and development. They must seek longer-term and durable solutions for the massive number of internally displaced. They must protect the unity of the country and its democracy.
Effective security cooperation between the Iraqi security forces, the Peshmerga (note: Kurdistan Region security forces), volunteers and local communities is vital in order to secure the areas currently occupied by ISIL. Discussions on the establishment of a national guard are at advanced stage. Such a force will empower people to take greater responsibility for their own security.
It is crucial that political progress and the process of inclusion proceed simultaneously. It is vital that the national reconciliation agenda be advanced based on the principles of inclusivity, with the participation of political, religious and community leaders from across Iraq’s diverse communities. This would mark the beginning of a new chapter of inclusion and unity in Iraq.
It is my hope that our gathering today should not remain an isolated event but we should spread the messages from this gathering to all communities.
The United Nations looks forward to continuing to work with and supporting Iraqis of all faiths to rise above misunderstandings and misconceptions, and find the path of harmony and mutual respect.
"Respect for diversity and peaceful dialogue are two essential conditions for humanity to cooperate in exploiting opportunities that arise and to face common danger",speech by deputy SRSG Gyorgy Buszton during the opening ceremony for the #Interfaith_Harmony_Week events at Shaikh Abdul Qader al-Gilani Mosque in #Baghdad with the presence of many Iraqi political and religious leaders.
"ان إحترام التنوع والحوار السلمي شرطان أساسيان إذا ما أرادت الإنسانية ان تتعاون في اس...
PM Al-Abadi discusses national reconciliation with US Ambassador Jones and UN special representative @nmladenov
At opening ceremony of interfaith harmony week, PM Al-Abadi calls for a united front to defeat Daesh and rebuild Iraq
All texts below are dervied from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq
Official languages: Arabic, Kurdish
Largest ethnic groups: Arabs, Kurds
Social groups and Religion: Around 95% of the country's 36 million citizens are Shia or Sunni Muslims, with Christianity, Yarsan, Yezidism and Mandeanism also extant.
Government: Federal parliamentary republic
Political Transitions: Kingdom 3 October 1932 (UK), Republic declared 14 July 1958
Current constitution: 15 October 2005
President: Fuad Masum | Vice President: Nouri al-Maliki | Prime Minister: Haider al-Abadi
Legislature: Council of Representatives
Area: 437,072 km2 | 169,234 sq mi (59th)
Population: 36 million (36th) (2014 estimate)
Currency: Iraqi dinar (IQD)
A monarchy was established in 1921 and the Kingdom of Iraq gained independence from Britain in 1932. In 1958, the monarchy was overthrown and the Republic of Iraq was created. Iraq was controlled by the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party from 1968 until 2003. After an invasion by the United States and its allies, Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party was removed from power and multi-party parliamentary elections were held. The American presence in Iraq ended in 2011 but the Iraqi insurgency continued and intensified as fighters from the Syrian Civil War spilled into the country.
Iraq's armed forces were devastated during the war and shortly after it ended in 1991, Shia and Kurdish Iraqis led several uprisings against Saddam Hussein's regime, but these were successfully repressed using the Iraqi security forces and chemical weapons. It is estimated that as many as 100,000 people, including many civilians were killed. During the uprisings the US, UK, France and Turkey, claiming authority under UNSCR 688, established theIraqi no-fly zones to protect Kurdish and Shiite populations from attacks by the Hussein regime's fixed-wing aircraft (but not helicopters).
Iraq was ordered to destroy its chemical and biological weapons and the UN attempted to compel Saddam Hussein's government to disarm and agree to a ceasefire by imposing additional sanctions on the country in addition to the initial sanctions imposed following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. The Iraqi Government's failure to disarm and agree to a ceasefire resulted in sanctions (which remained in place until 2003).
Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks the George W. Bush administration began planning the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's government and in October 2002, the U.S. Congress passed the Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq.
In November 2002 the UN Security Council passed UNSCR 1441.
On March 20, 2003, a United States-organized coalition invaded Iraq, under the pretext that Iraq had failed to abandon its weapons of mass destruction program in violation of U.N. Resolution 687. This claim was based on documents provided by the CIA and British government and were later found to be unreliable.
Following the invasion, the United States established the Coalition Provisional Authority to govern Iraq. In May 2003 L. Paul Bremer, the chief executive of the CPA, issued orders to exclude Baath Party members from the new Iraqi government (CPA Order 1) and to disband the Iraqi Army (CPA Order 2).The decision dissolved the largely Sunni Iraqi Army and excluded many of the country's former government officials from participating in the country's governance, helping to bring about a chaotic post-invasion environment.
An insurgency quickly began and included intense inter-ethnic violence between Sunnis and Shias. The Mahdi Army (a Shia militia created in the summer of 2003 by Muqtada al-Sadr) began to fight Coalition forces in 2004 and various Sunni militias were also created in 2003. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad Islamist terrorist group became Al-Qaeda in Iraq in October 2004 and began targeting Coalition forces as well as civilians (mainly Shia Muslims) further exacerbating ethnic tensions.
2004 saw the rise of an insurgency by Sunni and Shia militants against the Government and Coalition forces as well as the First and Second Battles of Fallujah and the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal. In January 2005 the first elections since the invasion took place and in October a new Constitution was approved which was followed by parliamentary elections in December. Insurgent attacks were common however and increased to 34,131 in 2005 from 26,496 in 2004. During 2006 fighting continued and reached its highest levels of violence, more war crimes scandals were made public,Abu Musab al-Zarqawi the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq was killed by U.S. forces and Iraq's former dictator Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death forcrimes against humanity and hanged.
In late 2006 the U.S. government's Iraq Study Group recommended that the U.S. begin focusing on training Iraqi military personnel and in January 2007 U.S. President George W. Bush announced a "Surge" in the number of U.S. troops deployed to the country.
In May 2007 Iraq's Parliament called on the United States to set a timetable for withdrawal and U.S. coalition partners such as the UK and Denmark began withdrawing their forces from the country.
In 2008 fighting continued and Iraq's newly trained armed forces launched attacks against militants. The Iraqi government signed the U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement which required U.S. forces to withdraw from Iraqi cities by 30 June 2009 and to withdraw completely out of Iraq by 31 December 2011.
U.S. troops handed over security duties to Iraqi forces in June 2009, though they continued to work with Iraqi forces after the pullout. On the morning of 18 December 2011, the final contingent of U.S. troops to be withdrawn ceremonially exited over the border to Kuwait. Crime and violence initially spiked in the months following the US withdrawal from cities in mid-2009 but despite the initial increase in violence, in November 2009, Iraqi Interior Ministry officials reported that the civilian death toll in Iraq fell to its lowest level since the 2003 invasion.
Following the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011 the insurgency continued and Iraq suffered from political instability. In February 2011 the Arab Springprotests spread to Iraq; but the initial protests did not topple the government. The Iraqi National Movement, reportedly representing the majority of Iraqi Sunnis, boycotted Parliament for several weeks in late 2011 and early 2012, claiming that the Shiite-dominated government was striving to sideline Sunnis.
In 2012 and 2013 levels of violence increased and armed groups inside Iraq were increasingly galvanised by the Syrian Civil War. Both Sunnis and Shias crossed the border to fight in Syria. In December 2012, mainly Sunni Arabs protested against the government who they claimed marginalized them.
During 2013 Sunni militant groups stepped up attacks targeting the Iraq's Shia population in an attempt to undermine confidence in the Nouri al-Maliki-led government. In 2014 Sunni insurgents belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group seized control of large swathes of land including several major Iraqi cities, like Tikrit, Fallujah and Mosul creating hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons amid reports of atrocities by ISIL fighters.
On 11 August, Iraq’s highest court ruled that PM Maliki’s bloc is biggest in parliament, meaning Maliki could stay Prime Minister. By 13 August, however, the Iraqi president had tasked Haider al-Abadi with forming a new government, and the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and some Iraqi politicians expressed their wish for a new leadership in Iraq, for example from Haider al-Abadi. Maliki on 14 August stepped down as PM, to support Mr al-Abadi and to “safeguard the high interests of the country”. The U.S. government welcomed this as “another major step forward” in uniting Iraq. On September 9, 2014, Haider al-Abadi had formed a new government and became the new prime minister.
All texts above are dervied from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq