By: Aimen Taki
Earlier on Tuesday the 10th of June the terrorist group ISIS (also known as ISIL) took control of Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul. Mosul is a known safe haven for terrorists and former Ba’ath party members and has long since been opposed to the government currently being run by Nouri Al-Maliki. It took ISIS members only a couple of hours to completely takeover the city, army and police officials have left their stations and fled for their lives. The government, meanwhile, seems to be completely taken aback by this attack and do not seem to have a coherent feasible plan to deal with the situation.
In truth, this attack does not come as a surprise to many. Earlier this week ISIS members launched a full scale attack on the shrines of Imam Al-Askari and Imam Al-Hadi in Samarra, two of the holiest men revered by Shia Muslims all around the world. Also late last year ISIS took control of Fallujah, another large predominantly Sunni city in Iraq. This, in no uncertain terms, spelt out their intentions; to not only launch a full scale war on Iraq, but to launch a full scale civil war in Iraq.
Unless this crisis is dealt with swiftly and strongly Iraq will slip back into a sectarian driven civil war, Iraq will be taken back to the dark days of 2005/06 (if not worse) and thousands upon thousands of innocent lives will be lost.
Unfortunately the frankly embarrassing response from the government is doing nothing to alleviate the tensions. PM Nouri Al-Maliki wants to declare a state of emergency and take control of what little power he has no control over. Meanwhile the parliament has announced an emergency session on Thursday…that’s two days after the crisis started! By Thursday things will only have gotten worse, cities similar to Mosul, such as Tikrit and Baqubah, could fall under ISIS control which could then mean ISIS forces marching south towards Baghdad and the Shia south.
A possible solution to the crisis, as suggested by PM Nouri Al-Maliki, is to arm civilians in Mosul. Frankly, that is a deplorable idea. Arming untrained civilians whose allegiances are unknown is an extremely risky idea and one which could backfire massively at the PM and at the people of Iraq. If the army could not stop ISIS members, how well will civilians fare? But what other possible solutions exist? If the whole army was defeated in a few hours, If the central government cannot come together to produce a feasible plan, if the people themselves stand idle while their country is torn apart, what solutions exist?
Iraq currently sits in a precarious situation, Iraq is divided into three clear factions, a Kurdish north east that doesn’t want anything to do with the rest of Iraq, a Sunni west that despises their new positions in post Saddam Iraq and a Shia centre and south that are attempting to rule the country and avoid civil war…again. First it was Fallujah, then it was Samara and now it’s Mosul. I dread to think what the next part of the sequence is.