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