Sunday, August 07, 2016

Editorial: Nothing Ever Changes

Nothing ever changes
You know it doesn't
Nothing ever changes
Oh, you know it doesn't
-- Stevie Nicks, "Nothing Ever Changes" (first appears on her album THE WILD HEART)

In June 2014, US President Barack Obama insisted only a political solution could solve Iraq's political crises.

It's over two years later and nothing's been done in that regard.

The White House has dropped bombs on Iraq daily.

It has sent ever more US service members back into Iraq.

(And more into Kuwait.)

But it has refused to work on diplomacy.

And the government of Haider al-Abadi is just as estranged from the Sunnis as the previous government was.

Is that a surprise when Haider was a member of Nouri al-Maliki's political party (Dawa) and also a part of Nouri's self-created political slate (State of Law).

Earlier this year, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace provided this overview:

Understanding Iraqi Sunni Estrangement

  • Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has not convinced many Iraqi Sunnis that he can offer something different from his predecessor, Nouri al-Maliki, whose policies contributed to Sunni estrangement from the state and the political process.
  • Iraqi Sunnis are disillusioned by the monopolization of power by a few Shia elite and the impunity of perceived sectarian Shia militias that are part of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).
  • Some Iraqi Sunnis support the Islamic State and more remain indifferent. For example, a large portion of Mosul’s population appears supportive of or indifferent about the group.
  • There is no united authority, cause, or identity driving the Sunni movement, which makes it difficult for Iraqi Sunnis to engage with the state and adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Further disrupting the community’s cohesion are internal political differences (such as over whether to work with Abadi) and ideological disagreements (such as about whether to mobilize as a Sunni party or front).
  • Following Mosul’s 2014 fall to the Islamic State, much of the Sunni leadership has shifted course and seeks greater local autonomy.

The Islamic State will never be defeated while the Iraqi government persecutes Sunnis.

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