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Why is Iraq Ablaze? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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An entire village in Iraq, the residents of which belong to the Shia school of thought, was destroyed.

Is this the dark, depressing side of the current picture in Iraq?

Of course not. The scene is more frightening than what the Iraqis or those following events in Iraq think.

In order for us to understand what happened and what is still happening in Iraq, we must follow the course of events in that country everyday on all levels, and watch the wrangling that is going on there, with regards to politics, sectarianism, and even with respect to the media. The real reason behind the current blazing fire in Iraq is attributed to two things; the withdrawal of US troops and the upcoming Iraqi elections.

In order for us to understand we must contemplate the following; after the treacherous bombings that targeted the village, the first reaction of the victims can be summed up in the words of an Iraqi woman who, in front of the television cameras, pointed at the rubble and shouted, “Look Prime Minister, look Minister of Interior, where’s the security you’re talking about?”

Security is the trump card that Nuri al Maliki wants to use for the upcoming elections in Iraq. After the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, which was completely down to the Americans and not because of al Maliki, the government of Mr. Nuri al Maliki tried to depict the withdrawal as heroic and as an accomplishment it secured. Even Washington was angry with the Iraqi government for trying to depict US withdrawal as a victory [for Iraq], which led to the Iraqi Prime Minister visiting the graves of US soldiers in Washington during his last visit in order to solve the matter.

Therefore, in Iraq there are those who want to say today that al Maliki’s government can’t impose security, nor is security one of its accomplishments, especially as the al Maliki government announced that it wants to remove checkpoints on Baghdad’s roads and around the Green Zone. His opponents considered this a publicity stunt in preparation for the upcoming elections. Of course, al Maliki and his government today are facing another security issue i.e. the scandal of the burglary of an Iraqi bank by members of the protection unit of Iraqi Vice President and leading figure of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council Adil Abdul Mahdi. It turned into a media battle in Baghdad!

As we have said before, the battle is not only a security one; the Iraqi government recently began to openly state its complaints about the obstacles that it faces in parliament. The best example is the issue of the electricity bill that threatens completely cutting off electricity in the country, especially with the accusation leveled by someone close to al Maliki that the Supreme Council is behind these disruptions.

Here it becomes clear to us that the battles over the United Iraqi Alliance (that includes the Islamic Dawa Party, Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, and Sadrists) are vast, and close to reaching a level of violence. If we add to that the rest of the political opponents, the armed militants and Al Qaeda, the difficulty of the situation in Iraq in preparation for the upcoming elections becomes clear to us.

Sadly, the fire of Iraq today is burning off innocent civilians of all sects and denominations. It is here that the importance of the comments of a US military leader made a week ago to an American newspaper becomes clear. He said, “Iraq’s problems do not require military forces, but a political solution.”

This is the only way out in Iraq today; not small alliances based on sectarianism or exploiting people’s concerns and security.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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