Maliki’s Misplaced Fear

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The flag of the Islamic State of Iraq. The group, linked to Al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the March 8th attack on Syrian troops in Iraq. (Photo: http://www.wikipedia.org)

A few days ago the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), a Sunni militant group with links to Al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the March 8th massacre of 48 Syrian and nine Iraqi soldiers in Iraq’s western province of Anbar. The attack targeted an Iraqi army convoy that was returning Syrian troops who crossed into Iraq to escape rebel fighters. Originally, the operation was attributed the Al-Nusra Front, a Sunni insurgent group in Syria that is also linked to Al-Qaeda and has been labeled a terrorist group by the U.S. government. The reality is that it doesn’t matter if the attack was carried out by Al-Qaeda’s Syrian or Iraqi front. What matters is that the attack is the most glaring sign to date that Syria’s civil war is spilling over into an Iraq that is struggling with increased sectarian tensions and fears of another civil war. Continue reading

Iraqis First, Christians Second

The leader of the Iraqi parliament’s Christian Rafidain bloc, Yonadim Kana, refused the formation of special sectarian security force units to protect Iraq’s minorities. Al-Monitor reported that Kana announced his dissent and revealed the creation of a special

Yonadim Kana, leader of Iraq’s Christian Rafidain Bloc. (www.iraqichristians.info)

committee formed to draft a law that would guarantee administrative and cultural rights for minorities. Continue reading

Iraqi Clubs Get Busted

Club goers in Baghdad, 2009. (www.almonitor.com)

September was a sad month for the Iraqi party scene. A recent report from al-Monitor details the forced closing of a number of night clubs in Iraq’s capital city of Baghdad. The report cites the official reasons for the closures to be complaints from local citizens complaining of “drunken people near their homes, stores, and markets”. Security officials also claim that night clubs “promote prostitution and host suspects”. Sound like any clubs you know? Continue reading

Another Nationalist Victory over Sectarianism in Iraq?

A very interesting piece published on al-Monitor’s website today argues that Turkey has overestimated its ability to facilitate a Sunni Arab-Kurdish partnership capable of advancing Turkish interests in Baghdad.

Interestingly, the piece credits Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for playing up Iraqi-Arab nationalist sentiments among Iraqi Sunnis to rally them against Kurdish and Turkish influence. Continue reading