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There is an interesting article on the Guardian website today called Baghdad's Sunni fighters: we are ready for zero hour.

These are three excerpts.

In this one a man who is described as a 'Sunni fighter in the last round of civil war' explains how Iraqi Sunni Arabs kill Iraqi Shiites in order to provoke them into attacking Sunnis.

"There are many men willing to start the fight again but the problem is there is no fear," he said. People were not sufficiently worried about the situation, he said, and did not realise there was no way back. "If we string two Shia on poles for everyone to see, the militias will retaliate and all the men in the area will be forced to carry arms. This is how we start bringing our men together."
This is an Iraqi Sunni Arab who has deluded himself into thinking ISIS can be used by the Iraqi Sunni Arabs.
"Isis will clear the path for us and we will take over. Our men are toppling provinces now and we wait for them."
This is an Iraqi Sunni Arab who seems to have some understanding of how ISIS works but still believes that ISIS can be contained by the Iraqi Sunni Arabs who are currently allied with ISIS.
"There are many different factions here, and all are cooperating now but we fear that they [Isis] will impose there control, and they start treating everyone as subservient to them," he said. "And we end up sandwiched between the rock and the hard place between the Shia government and Isis and go back to the same bad situation of years ago of internal fighting."

The emir said that he and other factions were trying to contain Isis by using the tribes. "The tribes told them: welcome as our sons, you work under the framework of tribes but you can't come here and tell us what to do."

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (30+ / 0-)

    The world is bad enough as it is, you have no right to make it any worse.
    Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

    by InAntalya on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 11:50:44 AM PDT

  •  Your updates are always greatly appreciated. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InAntalya, AoT, Onomastic, offgrid, BMScott

    Thank you. And stay safe! Are the family doing well?

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 12:10:45 PM PDT

  •   They're sowing the sectarian wind - I wonder what (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InAntalya

    they'll reap ?

    Rivers are horses and kayaks are their saddles

    by River Rover on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 12:37:32 PM PDT

  •  Syria pushed them out. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InAntalya, offgrid

    Iran will do the same.  They have no air power and can't hold their land.  They need to either find a compromise or lose.  And they don't seem the compromising type.

    "You cannot win improv." Stephen Colbert (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6tiaooiIo0 at 16:24).

    by Publius2008 on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 12:48:29 PM PDT

    •  they don't need to hold the land, just the people (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Publius2008, InAntalya

      That's one of Mao's rules for guerrillas: keep faith with the people and it won't matter if you're pushed out by government troops or their Great Power patron, you can always come back.

      Alienate the people with fanaticism and expropriation however, and they'll turn on you.  And once that starts, the harder you try to hold on, the faster you'll lose.

      Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

      by Visceral on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 04:56:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Which gives the people (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        InAntalya

        the upper hand.  I think that's what happened in Syria.  The people who actually lived there--the rebels--rejected ISIS and would not supply or take them in.

        "You cannot win improv." Stephen Colbert (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6tiaooiIo0 at 16:24).

        by Publius2008 on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 05:38:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  let's hope so (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          InAntalya

          The situation is a little more complex in that in situations like this, it's not always accurate to put The People on one side or the other.  The People are always on their own side and from their perspective, it's up to everyone else to be on The People's side or not.  It's tempting to think of The People as one of the players, but they're really more like the terrain; they're what everyone's fighting over even if nobody knows it - which is why successful insurgency and counterinsurgency alike focus on The People, though not always to The People's benefit - and like ISIS in Syria, the power of The People lies in their ability to shelter and support the actual fighters ... or not.

          The People's immediate military goal is to secure their lives and livelihoods; to that end, they'll fight anyone who comes rolling through the neighborhood looking for trouble, be it the government's troops or one of the countless groups of foreign fighters ... and "foreign" could mean from somewhere else in Syria, especially if you're from a different sect.  The People never take the fight to anyone, because their interests - their strategic goals - are always "here", not "there".

          ISIS, being Sunni, will be given the benefit of the doubt; as we see, Sunni Iraqis are eager for a protector and a champion.  If however ISIS lives up to its reputation, they'll lose The People the minute they start hitting up shopkeepers for money, whipping women in the street, cruising around in technicals saying "Your food and your sons belong to us now!", and setting up drumhead sharia courts and killing people left and right for this or that sin.

          Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

          by Visceral on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 06:20:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  You always post great informative stuff. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InAntalya, offgrid, BMScott

    Keep up the good work!  You've helped me understand the situation in Iraq and Syria probably better than anyone else.

    The lady was enchanted and said they ought to see. So they charged her with subversion and made her watch TV -Spirogyra

    by Taget on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 12:54:06 PM PDT

  •  How Many Sunnis Left in Baghdad? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InAntalya, BMScott

    Shia ethnic cleansing drove out/killed many of the Sunni in Baghdad after the U.S. invasion, correct?

    Not sure there are many Sunni there who would join with ISIS.

    "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

    by Superpole on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 12:54:07 PM PDT

    •  I know that the population balance shifted (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Superpole, Johnny Q, BMScott

      from mixed to heavily Shiite and that Sunnis and Shiites segregated into Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods.

      I don't know how much of this shift is due to Shiite population growth or how much is due to Sunnis leaving/fleeing Baghdad.

      I also know that this happened while the US was occupying the country so any ethnic cleansing, if it happened, is the responsibility of the US.

      What happened in Baghdad is very similar to what happened in Belfast in the early 1970s.

      The world is bad enough as it is, you have no right to make it any worse.
      Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

      by InAntalya on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 01:23:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sunni Iraqis need to assist the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InAntalya

    Baghdad gov't to repel ISIS.  Those guys are a road to nowhere.  Then they will have to leverage their enhanced political position to get a better partnership with Shiites to maintain a united Iraq or they begin talks to address some form of autonomy or gradual partition.

    Global Shakedown - Alternative rock with something to say. Check out their latest release, "A Time to Recognize": Available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and other major online music sites. Visit http://www.globalshakedown.com.

    by khyber900 on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 02:27:42 PM PDT

  •  Everyone with the sense not to participate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InAntalya

    in such a strategy -- the more people get killed, the more our side wants to fight and win -- seems to have fled the country, wouldn't you agree?

    The Stars and Bars and the red swastika banner are both offerings to the same barbaric god.

    by amyzex on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 02:50:32 PM PDT

    •  Smart people everywhere realize (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      InAntalya, Karl Rover

      sooner or later that loyalty to a state with no loyalty to its peoples can have disastrous if not fatal consequences.

      And how many states are loyal to their peoples?

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 03:26:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The truly heartbreaking thing being that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        InAntalya

        most people either realize this too late, or lack utterly the means to save themselves.

        Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

        by corvo on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 03:28:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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