Sunnis boycott Iraqi government after Shia militia attack

The latest attack by Shia militias in Baghdad has threatened to expose the sectarian war in Iraq for all to see.

Sunni politicians said they would boycott parliament after the killing of Sheik Qasim al-Janabi, a moderate Sunni tribal leader, his son and the other members of their convoy, blaming the Friday night assault on Shiite militias that they say the government has allowed to act with impunity.

Sunni MP Zaid al-Janabi, a relative of the Sheik, was not killed, but had his arms and legs broken.
The debate on the floor of the Iraqi parliament ended in a brawl after Sunni MP Ahmed Misari accused the Shia militias for the killings. In response Misari was attacked by Shia MP Kazim Siyadi and the whole meeting went into chaos. Iraqi Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jibburi ran from the building because he feared for his life.
Today the main Sunni political blocks, the National Alliance Force and the Iraqi National Alliance, suspended participation in the government.

“This is it,” Mutlak said. “We can’t stay in this miserable political process any longer. We can’t stay in a government while our sons are being slaughtered.”
Hakim al-Zamili, who heads parliament’s defense and security committee, promised that the incident would be investigated. But many Sunnis are skeptical.
Zamili is a militia leader accused of running death squads during Iraq’s sectarian war. The interior minister is a member of the Badr Brigades, another Shiite militia.

Recently the Iraqi government declared the Karrada region of Baghdad an arms-free zone. The reason for the order was the kidnapping of the secretary general of an Iraqi Hezbollah branch, Abbas Al-Muhammadawi, by another Shia militia. What followed was clashes between the armed Shia groups.
What has happened is that the Iraqi government turned to the Shia militias after their army collapsed against a much smaller ISIS army, but now the Shia militias are out of control.

Iraq’s capital has been torn by fighting among rival Shi’ite militias backed by neighboring Iran.
Officials acknowledged that the government was losing control of Baghdad to Shi’ite militias armed and financed by Iran, Middle East Newsline reported. They said the militias were in control over large areas of the capital city and often fought each other.

By coincidence, Human Rights Watch released a new report about the Shia militias yesterday and accused them of "possible war crimes".
Besides the more well known massacre of 72 Sunni civilians in the town of Barwana, the report goes into detail about the forced expulsion of 3,000 civilians in the vicinity of Muqdadiyya.

“Iraqi civilians are being hammered by ISIS and then by pro-government militias in areas they seize from ISIS,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director. “With the government responding to those they deem terrorists with arbitrary arrests and executions, residents have nowhere to turn for protection.”

What makes this report especially interesting is that it links to a YouTube video from late December.

On December 29, Hadi al-Ameri, the Badr Brigades commander and transport minister under the previous administration of Nuri al-Maliki, threatened Muqdadiyya residents, saying, “The day of judgment is coming” and “We will attack the area until nothing is left. Is my message clear?”

Hadi al-Amiri is a particularly odious creature who claims to have personally ordered the deaths of 2,000 Sunnis. According to a 2009 State Department cable, his preferred method of execution was "using a power drill to pierce the skulls of his adversaries.”
To make matters worse, Amiri is effectively in control of the most successful and powerful Iraqi army.

On a tour of areas recently liberated from Islamic State control, General Ali Wazir Shamary told me that ultimately his orders came through a chain of command that originated with Amiri. In other words, the Iraqi army is integrating into Amiri’s Badr Organization in Diyala as opposed to integrating the militias into the army.

Instead of voicing alarm at the rise of Amiri, the United States is pretending that it doesn't matter. The U.S. Ambassador has offered air strikes in support of Amiri's army, and is knowingly sending weapons to the Shia militias.

To focus only on the atrocities of ISIS and ignore the atrocities of the Shia militias is a potentially catastrophic decision that will lead, not just to the failure to eliminate ISIS, but to a much bloodier sectarian war.
Pretending this isn't a problem will not make it go away.

You can see how the single-minded focus on only one belligerent can undermine everything by looking at the example of Yemen. Our exclusive focus on Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula blinded us from the dangers of the Houthi rebels who brought down the Yemen government and created a failed state. When the United States fled its embassy, and the rebels seized the vehicles we left behind while chanting "death to America".
From the news today, the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council announced that they "will take whatever actions it deems necessary to maintain regional security and stability."
Thus Yemen might just become a regional war, while our foreign policy towards Yemen is stuck in 2009.

The same sort of events could easily play out in Iraq unless we take a more comprehensive view of the situation.

If you think that Armiri's violence will stop with the Sunnis, think again.

Commander of the Badr Brigade Hadi Amri has announced that Shiite militants will deploy to Kirkuk to follow up the aftermath of the Islamic State (IS) offensives two weeks ago.
It comes after Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani ordered Kirkuk authorities to prevent Shiite militants from entering Kirkuk.

Kirkuk has been a flashpoint between the peshmerga and Baghdad for generations, and the Kurds will simply not allow the Shia forces to enter the city. Some Kurdish commanders refer to the Shia militias as "Shia IS".
If Amiri tries to force the issue, we could see the final event that leads to the breakup of Iraq.

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Tammany Tiger's picture

The neo-conservatives were aching at a chance to kick over the hornets' nest in Iraq, and see what happens next. Guess what?

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Big Al's picture

and encouragement of the USA.
Reminder of "The Redirection" by Sy Hersh

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection

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snoopydawg's picture

"We know that Israel smuggled nuclear technology (triggers, known as krytrons) out of the US, highjacked a ship on the high seas loaded with uranium ore, deceived US inspectors, and much more, all the while lying about its true intentions."
And just like Israel's attack on the Liberty, it was covered up. And we still give them $3 billion of our taxes
Each year. With all the foreign aid our country gives away, the tax cuts for the wealthy,
And corporate subsidies (welfare) it's no wonder that congress says we are to broke to feed our por
Or offer them decent health care.

And in the comments, there's a link that states that Bibi wanted to assassinate Obama.

I don't know why my comment posted here. I was responding to the one where Israel's nuke program was leaked from the link from information clearing house.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
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gulfgal98's picture

the situation in Iraq. What I do know is that it is a lot worse now than it was before we started meddling and killing thousands of people. I also know from talking to a veteran of three Iraq tours, that based upon his experience there, our government is lying to us.

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." Sun Tzu

"Propaganda is one hell of a drug." Abby Martin

"politicians are cowards." Mike Gravel

snoopydawg's picture

I don't understand what their goals are either.
I read a great article by Chomsky yesterday and he said if ISIS falls, something even worse would take it's place. I will try to find the link.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
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snoopydawg's picture

It's a great article about ISIS and US hegemony. And at the end he talks about climate change he says as many species will be extinct as when the asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs.

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/02/noam-chomsky-interview-jacobin/

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
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gulfgal98's picture

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." Sun Tzu

"Propaganda is one hell of a drug." Abby Martin

"politicians are cowards." Mike Gravel

AoT's picture

If it is destroyed from the outside by hostile forces then it may well be replaced by something worse, although I can't imagine how much worse you could get.

If we, you and I not the US government, can support the budding revolution spreading from Kurdish Syria then it may well be able to be destroyed and not have something else rise up in its place. There are in fact "good guys" on the ground. What will happen is that the US will continue to support those groups for a bit until their revolution threatens the power of the Kurdish leaders in Iraq, which has already started to a small extent, then the Us will quickly turn and support the groups of Kurds that seek a regular integration into the world community of states in the appropriately deferential manner toward the US and the rest of the neocolonial powers.

In practical terms I don't know what we can do to help the Kurds in a way that doesn't carry serious legal risks. The state department has been saying that it's okay for Americans to go fight with Kurdish groups in Syria for the moment even though they are connected to the PKK which is designated a terrorist group. Obviously the US has no problems working with terrorist groups if it thinks that those groups will forward US interests, but it also will turn on them in no time at all. Since the Kurdish groups in question are anarchists, or close enough, I expect we will see an increase in reports on the terroristic nature of anarchism and anarchists at the point that the revolution starts to threaten the statist Kurdish leaders in Iraq. The Kurdish men in Iraq fear the women's uprising and empowerment as much as men nearly anywhere else do. And the Kurds so far have not made the mistake of marginalizing Arabs like the Zionist Jews made in the creation of Israel. Hopefully they can continue on that path.

http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/discussion/can-the-revolution-in-kurdish-s...

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lotlizard's picture

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snoopydawg's picture

Or do you think they even have a goal? I can't understand what the US is trying to achieve with all their wars in the Middle East. Unless it's to destabilize the whole area. Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and other countries are in constant war. And for what? Or why?
I feel so bad for the innocent women and children that are living in these wars zone. Can anyone even begin to imagine it?
And yet, most Americans have no problem with what our military is doing in so many countries.
They don't even care how much it is costing us.
Just how far would $5-5 trillion have benefit everyday Americans if they hadn't pissed it away on their illegal wars.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
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Big Al's picture

with Obama's seeming cold relationship with Netanyahoo, is the Zionist plan for the MIddle East and North Africa to balkanize/break up
all the Arab countries so they can create their "Greater Israel". That plan would be associated with the neocons, the ones
that came in with Bush and wanted a New Pearl Harbor and a New American Century (PNAC). The other aspect is plain old
U.S./western imperialism and the desire for world hegemony which also calls for remaking the Middle East. These are
documented in plans such as the Oded Yinon plan, the Which Path to Persia plan, Ralph Peters map, etc.
Then you have the New World Order aspect and what at least some of the very rich and influential are trying to create.
In the end, ISIS is just another act.
I mentioned "The Redirection" by Sy Hersh in another comment, the purposeful plan under the Bush admin to ignite a
sectarian war in Middle East to achieve their goals.

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Big Al's picture

ISIS which is really a group created by western intelligence along with Saudi Arabia and Israel out of Al Qaeda and others, they use
mercenaries, they use convicts they let out of prison. These are proxy fighters for the most part.
But the goal is to use them to justify breaking up Syria and probably Iran, as well as continuing the remaking of Iraq, Libya, etc.

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snoopydawg's picture

To bad we are Israel's whore. We pay for it, our soldiers die for it, and Israel reaps the benefits.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
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Big Al's picture

Really the neocons are the Zionists, they're one and the same basically, or at least they share the same basic agenda.
But with Obama this latest episode with Netanyahoo is interesting. Yahoo is giving that speech to Congress, seemingly
snubbing Obama, to strum up support against Iran. Then just this last week the release of files on Israel's nuclear
weapon program, which some perceive as a swipe from the White House at Netanyahu about the Iran negotiations. A lot happening, but the wars
still go on anyway.

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Big Al's picture

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Cordelia Lear's picture

Netanyahu has one way of doing business: his way or bust. He won't and never has discussed two state solutions.

It will be interesting to observe whether Hillary meets with him during that trip to address the joint session of Congress. Eveidentally the neo-cons are "encouraging" her to do so. Bill had a frosty relationship with him partly due to the fact that he openly said Peres would be better for the peace process. After he was elected Bibi also had a very frosty relationship with Albright when she was SoS. Hillary's relationship as Sos with Bibi was tepid.

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"Never separate the life you live from the words you speak." --Paul Wellstone

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Big Al's picture

It spread the propaganda that Russia invaded Crimea and Ukraine for months, probably still is. I checked out
who owned it, etc., and it's a money place.
Anyway, that's not to say the video isn't good, just what I learned when I was researching early on about the
situation in Ukraine.
Here's an example, their key reporter spreading the Russia invaded narrative was Simon Ostrovsky.
FYI

http://www.vice.com/video/russian-roulette-the-invasion-of-ukraine-part-1

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mimi's picture

and personally think they are sensationalizing with their visuals. Of course it's much better than not to have any video. But I often wondered what kind of organization it is. They report from all over the world's conflict zones. So, who owns it? To produce the videos they show you need a pretty big crew and lots of money.

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mimi's picture

guts feeling were not that far off.
well, this says already a lot
and the wikipedia page is also revealing:
hell yeah, couldn't be any other way, could it?

The video in question here is a tool to justify Obama's engagement to fight Isis in Iraq and with the help of Iran, indirectly, subtly, but imo clearly.

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Big Al's picture

when I saw they were promoting the narrative that Russia invaded Ukraine and Crimea, I knew something was up.
Good catch.

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AoT's picture

There may have been a referendum after the government was seized by force, but it wasn't a legitimate transfer of power by any stretch of the imagination. Just because there are fascists on the Ukrainian side doesn't mean Russia isn't fascist as well.

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Big Al's picture

The one our government and the neocon imperialists are pushing. There is no evidence Russia invaded Crimea.
Russia already had forces in Crimea, they did not invade. I'm not defending Russia of course, I'm arguing against the
propaganda narrative that Russia was/is the aggressor. As I've said to others many times, I'd be glad to look at
real evidence that Russia did invade Ukraine. If it was proven true, I'd change my mind.

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AoT's picture

Russia supported the coup in Crimea like the west supported the coup in Kiev. They armed factions and then reaped the benefits. It was not a full scale invasion, but it was a coup of the sort that the US pulled in Iran when it put the Shah in power.

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The Sunnis are seeking to negotiate directly with the Shia militias. That sounds to me like they've lost all faith in the government to solve this problem.

And then there is this article.

If the fighting continues on its current trajectory, there is a real risk the United States will defeat the Islamic State but lose Iraq to Iran in the process, said Michael Knights of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy...“The Shiite militias don’t want the Americans there and they never did,” Knights said. “Will we see an attempt by these Iranian-backed militias to push us out completely?”

That is the real question.

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AoT's picture

"lose Iraq to Iran"

Because the US is the owner of Iraq now, right?

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