June 12, 2014. Baghdad. Three months ago, the largest and most extreme Jihadist militia fighting alongside al Qaeda and the rest of the US-backed rebel militias in Syria disappeared. Tired of fighting their moderate Syrian rebel allies and their Kurdish allies, ISIS/ISIL and its entire army pulled out of their Syrian held territory. They seem to have reappeared yesterday. And their blitzkrieg toppling one Iraqi city after another is evidence.
US ‘occupation zones’ which match the religious dividing lines with Kurds in the north, Sunnis in the middle and Shiites in the south. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
Thanks to the chaos the world is in at the moment, it’s hard to keep track of what is happening in Iraq right now. But for readers that have been reading Whiteout Press for a few years, it’s no surprise at all. We predicted these exact events would happen. And believe it or not, it’s probably the natural course of things and for the best, at least for the people of Iraq.
Blame England, France and Russia
The people who have made the most sense since the war started are the historians. They repeatedly pointed out that a number of Middle East countries, including Iraq and Syria, had their borders drawn by conquering European armies that didn’t pay any attention to ethnic, religious and tribal dividing lines that had existed for centuries, sometimes millennia.
The result was Iraq, where the Shiite majority was ruthlessly ruled by a Sunni minority in the form of Saddam Hussein. And Syria, where the Sunni majority is ruthlessly ruled by a Shiite minority in the form of Bashar al-Assad. Unless those governments have the consent of the governed, which they don’t, tyrannies like those will not stand long and the majority will eventually rise up and fight for their freedom. That’s exactly what we’re witnessing in Iraq and Syria now.
Thank Uncle Sam
As much as this author hates to come to this conclusion, especially since I’ve been an opponent of the Iraq War and the War on Terror since day one, but invading Iraq and toppling Saddam Hussein may have been a blessing in disguise. This author, and most Americans, are in favor of a people having the right to use their freewill by self-governing themselves and not being ruled against their will by a foreign power. The majority Shiite in Iraq and the majority Sunni in Syria didn’t quite seem able or willing to throw off their yolks of oppression. So the US and the West did it for them, or in Syria’s case, is still trying.
But history has shown us that you can’t simply give people liberty and expect them not to naively give it away. They didn’t fight for it and they didn’t die for it. They just don’t appreciate its value. We Americans fought long and hard for our freedom. We watched it reduced to nothing more than a faint ember in the dark woods of a frozen Valley Forge, with an entire nation hanging in the hands of a handful of starving and barefoot fathers and sons. And that’s why the American people are some of the most liberty-loving on Earth.
Don’t take my word for it. Listen to the words Thomas Paine wrote on the snow-covered head of a drum as he fought alongside General George Washington and his men that frigid Christmas Eve, “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.”
Iraqis winning their independence, from us
When the United States overthrew the Hussein regime in Iraq, it unleashed ten years of religious civil war between the country’s majority Shiites and minority Sunnis. The Iraqi people were handed a puppet government elected in what they insisted was a rigged election that just happened to be controlled by the foreigners that overthrew their country in the first place. America removed Saddam Hussein and tried to replace it with a democratic-republic in America’s own image.
Iraq has been a disaster from the start. The Kurds, long deprived of their own nation which is the size of Iraq in its own right, declared their independence and even the powerful US military couldn’t dislodge it, no matter how many times we declared their government a terrorist organization. They brought stability, law and order, and even commerce and industry. ‘Kurdistan’ may not exist to the UN or the US, but it’s signing a lot of contracts with the multinational corporations that control the West and America has left it to its own rule in Iraq since the start.
The Kurds fought the Ottoman Turks and lost badly. They fought Saddam Hussein and were gassed en masse for it. They fought the US military to a stand-off. And they’ve since been fighting the Sunni extremists like al Qaeda and ISIS/ISIL ever since. When the Iraqi Army abandoned the entire northern one-third of the country over the past 48 hours, the Kurdistan Army stood strong and is fighting off the invading Jihadists as we write this. The Kurds know what freedom is because they fought for it and earned it themselves.
It’s worth noting that as the ISIS/ISIL militia swept through one northern Iraq city after another, they were welcomed as conquering heroes by many of the local Sunni residents. Those residents insist they’ve been living under the ruthless Shiite regime propped up by the US in Baghdad for a decade. They want their independence from Iraq and from America.
The coming days - Iraqi Shiites will rise
Over the next few days, don’t expect the Sunni Jihadists to get very far. The Shiite Iraqi Army and the 60,000-strong Shiite Madhi Army led by powerful Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr will erect an immovable wall. The ISIS/ISIL militia is only having success for the moment because they’re taking Sunni towns and cities in the north. As soon as they get far enough south where Sunni turns to Shiite, their advance will come to a screeching halt. If the people of Iraq are lucky, the violence, death and war will end right there, for good. There will be three separate Iraqs - Shiite, Sunni and Kurd - drawn along ancient ethnic and religious borders. But at least each side will finally have achieved what it says it has been fighting for all along - the right to self-determination.
If the people of Iraq are unlucky, which has been their lot lately, the US will intervene militarily to prop up it its puppet government in Baghdad and prevent the Sunnis and Shiites from declaring their independence. Worst of all, the major metropolis of Baghdad sits right on the dividing line between the Sunni north and the Shiite south. If a truce and agreement aren’t declared when the Sunni blitzkrieg gets to the Shiites, the divided city of Baghdad could see the most deadly fighting it’s ever seen in its history.
As of this moment, the US is evacuating all its personnel from Iraq and openly discussing air strikes. Iran is rushing what little support it can to protect the Shiite population in the absence of a fleeing Iraqi Army. And Iraqi Shiite militias like the Madhi Army are mobilizing and rushing north to face the oncoming Jihadists before they reach Shiite towns and cities.
The choice for the American people is, go back to war for another decade or two to force the unnatural and hated marriage together. Or let the Sunnis and Shiites carve out and rule their own regions of Iraq just as the world let the Kurds do there. For the record, we at Whiteout Press support letting the Iraqis fight and win their own independence and freedom, even if it is from each other and from us.
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