April 2013 has gone down as the deadliest month in Iraq since June of 2008 when the worst of the insurgent violence was finally beginning to diminish. The casualty figures are staggering with the United Nations reporting 712 people killed last month, including 117 members of the Iraqi security forces.[i] Whether or not one believes the rhetoric related to any “success” in the country achieved by the U.S., the numbers unmistakably mark a deadly turn in Iraq.
Iraq is the center lynchpin of the Middle East. As such, any major event in the region will affect Iraq. When the event in question is regional destabilization engineered in Washington, not only will Iraq feel the effects, but it will become a major political player. The growing civil war in Syria has provided just this regional destabilization. As the conflict becomes ever more polarized along sectarian lines, the Sunni-Shia instability inside Iraq has once again been rekindled. As the battle for Syria intensifies so will the bloodshed in Iraq.
The dramatically increasing violence in Iraq is a testament to the true end state the U.S. achieved in the Iraq War. Chaos, corruption, and bloodshed appear the biggest winners with democracy a distant memory and peace completely eliminated. The rising violence again threatens to rip Iraq in half along sectarian lines.[ii] Iraq’s Sunnis are flocking to the jihad against Bashar Assad’s Iranian (Shia) backed regime. To support this migration of international jihadists, large scale Sunni extremist (Al Qaeda linked) camps have sprung up in Sunni strongholds such as Tikrit and Mosul where training, arming, and equipping of these soldiers have been ongoing. Countering this Sunni mobilization is the Shia dominated Iraqi government that retains close ties to Tehran, which represents the Shia majority population in Iraq. The divided loyalties within the Iraqi population and government nearly assures greater violence and bloodshed that threatens to not only spill over into adjoining countries, but redraw the political lines of the Middle East once the dust settles.
Tehran and the Shia aligned Iraqi government have strong interests in maintaining Assad’s regime. The Iraqi government provides support in part by allowing the shipment of arms and supplies across Iraq to Syria. However, a large percentage of Iraqis are firmly aligned with the Sunni rebels. These rebels are dangerously aligned with Al Qaeda linked Sunni extremists united in their attempt to overthrow Assad. In fact, Syrian rebels fighting under the banner of the Muslim Brotherhood may be the most “moderate” of the rebels, which should forewarn the U.S. that a rebel victory will be a disaster for U.S. security in the region. This confliction of intrastate interests set the stage for an explosive situation in Iraq that can only get worse as regional and world powers jockey for influence in the Syrian Civil War. Ironically, the U.S. has decided to support the very same Al Qaeda affiliated Sunni extremists that the U.S. fought in Iraq throughout the previous decade. Further, the U.S. has now branded these former AND CURRENT terrorists as “legitimate” and have been covertly arming, training, equipping, and advising these known terrorists from camps in Jordan, Turkey, and within Syria. Ominously, as B2Wire analysts accurately predicted and REPEATEDLY warned, the United Nations has now confirmed that these terrorists have acquired and used the nerve gas Sarin, which is one of the most deadly chemical weapons in military arsenals.[iii]
Black Box Wire has repeatedly warned of the consequences of U.S. interventionist policy in Syria. One must question the legitimacy and wisdom of supporting known Islamic extremists aligned with international terrorist organizations now in possession of chemical weapons. These Al Qaeda linked terrorists have clearly stated goals of attacking the U.S. after they finish in Syria. Their threats to the U.S. are unambiguous. The notion of allowing our enemies to kill themselves off in Syria is not beyond Machiavellian designs, but holds little water when the U.S. is actively supporting their efforts. This will only result in better trained, armed, and organized enemies of the U.S. and further perpetuation of war. Ominously, this will also lead to Al Qaeda terrorists obtaining more military grade chemical weapons, anti-aircraft missiles, and anti-armor weaponry. These advanced weapons WILL be used against the U.S. and its interests. Elites within the U.S. that have handsomely profited from perpetuating war and incrementally increasing their power and control of the American people through fear and manipulation will be the only ones to benefit. As for the rest of America and a large portion of the people of the Middle East, we will all suffer the repercussions and blow back of dangerously stupid U.S. Middle Eastern Policy.
By Guiles Hendrik
[i] http://cnsnews.com/news/article/un-april-deadliest-month-iraq-june-2008; last accessed May 5, 2013.
[ii] http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/04/201342410811252501.html; last accessed May 11, 2013