Tag Archives: Haider Al Abadi

The Hollywood Caliphate of ISIS: Illusions of Sectarian Harmony in Iraq……..

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Masked terrorists attacked and killed worshipers in a (Sunni) mosque in Iraq last week. This reminded people of the brief but ugly sectarian civil war in 2006-08. The sectarian war that has resumed now with the mass killings of many non-Wahhabis by the terrorists of ISIS in Al-Anbar and other provinces. Even the Mubarak-appointed shaikh of Al-Azhar in Cairo, who did not bat an eyelash when ISIS were killing so many others, protested this “sectarian” attack.

My own guess is that the attack probably was not “sectarian” but that it was intended to provoke more sectarian hatred. That the perpetrators were almost certainly not “Shi’a” militias, but Wahhabi Salafis seeking to further muddy the waters. The rule of thumb in these terror incidents is to look for whoever benefits from them politically, and that should be obvious in this case.

The same arguments that were so publicized to explain the political and security troubles in Iraq in recent years will be used again after Haider Al-Abadi forms his government. If he is allowed to form his government. In fact the “sectarian” argument will be used again by former Baathists and their foreign Arab backers before he forms his government; I’d say starting next week. Ultra sectarians using the “sectarian” argument against others. Western governments frustrated with the whole Arab sectarian war will grasp this argument as the cause and root of all their troubles in Iraq. They will press Al Abadi to compromise by handing over ‘meaningful’ portfolios to the former Baathists. He, like Al Maliki, like any other Iraqi leader with the same sense and the same insecurities, will refuse to hand over the Defense or Security portfolios to former Baathists. Back to square one.

The root cause of Iraq’s current troubles is two-folded. It is a combination of domestic sectarian mistrust and foreign Arab meddling. The domestic Iraqi issue may take care of itself if outsiders would stop meddling and feeding the sectarian insecurities. Some of the Arab neighbors of Iraq, the Saudi princes and and Qatari and Emirati potentates who financed Wahhabi terrorism in Iraq long before they opened the Syrian front, have not accepted the regime change that was brought by the Western invasion of 2003. Their intolerant ideology, money, and volunteers are what gave birth to ISIS and its absurd Hollywood-style Caliphate.


Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Iraq: Finally, a Possible Peaceful Transition in an Arab Country?…….

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In Iraq, Nuri Al Maliki has finally wisely decided to withdraw his nomination as prime minister for another term. He will remain until the new PM, Dr. Haider Al Abadi, is voted on by Parliament and sworn in. This is a healthy development for a country with very unhealthy politics: an Arab head of government giving up his job peacefully, forced to do so through the political process. Al-Maliki’s departure, especially the mechanism of it, can be good for the future of democracy in Iraq. That depends on the kind of unifying leader Al Abadi turns out to be.

The culture of term limits and peaceful transition of power is not known or respected in the Arab world. It is now done peacefully in only three Arab states: Lebanon, Tunisia, and Iraq. Let’s hope that others will follow suit. From Bahrain to Egypt and Libya and Algeria. Who knows, maybe some day Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Syria and others will have term limits on their leaders, preferably sometime before hell freezes over. Term limits to be determined by a constitution, not by death or by an ambitious military officer staging a coup d’etat (as in Egypt) or by a not-so-brotherly prince staging a palace coup (as in Saudi Arabia and the UAE).
It is an understatement to say that Iraq has serious problems. Much of these problems have been aided and worsened by corrupt Iraqis from opposing political sides. Things look grim even with Al Maliki gone: sectarian passions have been let loose and it will not be easy calm them.

Yet some of the problems, including the new violent sectarianism, were encouraged and helped along by neighbors who had sought to reverse history back to the days of clan and tribal dictatorship and to use Iraq as a battlefield for their rivalries and their sectarian prejudices. In so doing, they have allowed killer Jihadis easy blood money and easy access to the borders of Iraq, hence to the civilian populations of Iraq who get slaughtered in their towns and cities by uninvited foreign Wahhabi terrorists.

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum