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Iraq revolution, not DAESH terrorism

HOW can a group of terrorists — a few thousand fighters — overrun a full-fledged, well-trained army on which the government has spent $20 billion and armed them to the teeth with the latest sophisticated weaponry? How could this army run away from the advancing DAESH fighters? If DAESH fighters have the power to dictate terms to tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers and the ability to occupy their camps and seize weapons in a matter of few hours, why did they not continue the advance and fully realize their plan? Why did they occupy only the governorates they entered? By the way, these governorates have been witnessing peaceful protests over the past two years.

What is happening in Iraq is a mere justification for sectarian massacre because at stake are not one or two houses, but entire governorates and millions of people living in them over vast areas. Add to this the scenario of two hundred thousand soldiers who discarded their weapons, abandoned their posts and ran for their life ‘naked’. If not for a frivolous and tyrant ruler we would not witness this popular revolution. It is not fair to deny the right of a nation to revolt against a government which disregarded and disrespected the nation’s constituents.

To those who are trying to convince us that Iraq has fallen in the claws of the ‘DAESH’ monster, we ask:
Did we not see the people of the cities confronting DAESH fighters to prevent them from destroying sepulchers and sanctuaries? Did we not see the people refusing to obey their unclean laws? Those who want to put a tag on DAESH to what is happening in Iraq, want to see Iraq embroiled in chaos and raise hell whose fires will continue to burn for more than one hundred years.

To the contrary those who seek good of this big Arab country have to be realistic and look at the demands of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have staged peaceful demonstrations for two years, but the new dictator has preferred to oppress them. Over the past two years the people have been demonstrating peacefully although some of them even faced death, yet they opted for a peaceful solution to their ordeal and then what did they gain?

Their leaders were pursued; they were accused of betrayal and labeled atheists. They were also shunned from recruitment and prevented from leading a normal life as equal citizens. Millions of Iraqis were punished for a crime they did not commit. They were punished for crimes committed by Saddam Hussein and this is the truth. Until when will the Iraqis who disagree with the policy of the new dictator be treated as second, third or even tenth degree citizens?

Finally, the popular revolt ran out of control. The curtain was raised and the misery which lay hidden for such a long time came to the forefront because the Iraqis were not ready to turn the clock back and live the era of ‘no country’ and anarchy. All theories of discrimination were toppled. This is the truth which all people must realize and look for a way out of this crisis — the crisis which will destroy what little remains of Iraq.

Everyone must stop rallying behind sectarian emblems. They must also stop fueling doctrinal conflicts which will turn against those who are using it as a tool for self protection. The conflict in Iraq is not between the Sunnis and Shiites. The Iraqi Sunnis are the ones who have protected and defended with their bare chests the Shiite shrines, just not today, but throughout past centuries.

It is enough testimony to mention the shrine of the two Imams ‘Al-Askaris’ in Samarra — the shrines taken care of and defended by the Sunnis and even gave their lives to prevent its destruction. No rational person would think that a party such as that of Nouri Al-Maliki is the only legitimate representative of the Iraqi Shiites — the enlightened Shiites who together with their national icons are demanding Al-Maliki to step aside to solve the problem and to douse the ‘fire’ that he and his ally Iran can never extinguish if he continues to be stubborn.

Indeed, the ongoing crisis in Iraq is a fight for power and revolt against marginalization on the one hand, and the end of the era of the militias and the beginning of a real country that does not discriminate between citizens on the other. Indeed, the crisis in Iraq symbolizes the end of weapons outflow and death squads and the end of extremist and radical groups, not only in Iraq but the entire region. It is the end for mercenaries, in Lebanon, Iraq and even Yemen.

Therefore, the blood which is being shed cannot be downplayed. If Iraq becomes the epicenter of sedition it will undoubtedly tarnish both Islam and the Arab world.  This if the new dictator is allowed to play his card. It is unfortunate Al-Maliki does not see the burning inferno — a result of his irresponsible policies. He persists to hold on to power and refuses to form a government of national reconciliation. It looks like he is reading from the same pages of the book when the dictators set fire to their countries to remain in power.

In short, Al-Maliki is refusing to rescue his country from imminent catastrophe and salvage it from bloodshed. It appears, he has no problem sitting on the throne of skulls. Will the people of Iraq choose to return to the era of dictatorship even if under the pretext of sectarianism? Wrong is the one who thinks the people of Iraq will accept that. Therefore, the browbeaters must stop in their tracks. There will no escape for the Iraqis should they fail to topple the dictator.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

By: Ahmed Al-Jarallah

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