Friday, 30 March 2007

Al-Maliki's Response to Tal Afar Carnage

The only response from the Iraqi government about the vicious circle of unrestrained sectarian retribution-killing in Tal Afar and Baghdad in the last two days came from the PM office. Al-Maliki’s reaction to the “events” of Tal Afar was to form a “committee to investigate” the allegations into off-duty policemen involvement in the revenge-killing of more than 60 Sunnis in that town, whereas his reaction to the massacre in Baghdad and Al-Khalis was “we condemn” and “pledge to eliminate Al-Qaeda members”.

Forming committees, condemnation and pleas to “wipe” Al-Qaeda are not something new to successive Iraqi Governments since April 2003. Al-Ja’affary was obsessed by forming investigating teams and opening inquiries. We all remember the tragic death of more than one thousand innocent Iraqis in Al-A’ema Bridge stampede nearly two years ago as well as the mass kidnapping of employees and visitors of the ministry of Higher Education by armed militias, linked to Al-Sadr, when they stormed the ministry at midday one year ago. Inquiries and investigations were launched but we do not know the results of these investigations and who was held accountable. It was merely a “fiasco” and exactly the same will happen again with the latest incidents. Members of Tal Afar’s police force, together with Shiaa militia men and Shiaa relatives of those died in the suicide bomb in Al-Wihda district one day before the retaliation, stormed a Sunni neighbourhood area and dragged the men out of their homes and shot them in the streets. This “mini” civil war in Tal Afar was to some extent similar to the events happened in Mosul in March 1959 after the failed coup attempt by Abdul-Wahab Al-Shawaf to topple Qassim’s regime. In both cases, the army intervened to stop the bloodshed and yesterday I read that 18 police men were detained in connection to the revenge-killing but few hours later one army spokesman said that the policemen were temporarily released because of the “severe mental and psychological pressure” and also to let them “attend the funerals of their Shiaa relatives” who died in the suicide car bomb a day earlier. This biased response from the Iraqi army and the Government will only add more fuel to the fire, especially if we know that the army units invited to calm the situation were mainly composed of Kurdish ex-Peshmerga fighters and under Kurdish control.

The most probable outcome of the investigations would be either “no result” until we forget what’s happened, as we already did with the results of the previous inquiries, or few policemen would be made “scapegoats”. However, there is another possibility that these policemen would be considered not guilty and may be awarded by the PM for their “patriotic” behaviours as exactly as what’s happened with “Sabrine Rape case”.

The reactions of the Shia-dominated government to the latest events helped the cause of Sunni extremists to wage a fully blown civil war in Iraq. The way in which Al-Maliki dealt with Saddam’s execution, the rape of Sabrine and now the Tal Afar carnage only proves that this government is unable to lead the country out of its disastrous situation. They keep intentionally repeating the same mistakes just to satisfy their sectarian narrow-minded view about Iraqi future. Their mentality is still haunted by the “oppression of Shiaa” images of the past. This mentality is not the way to build a new democratic Iraq. instead, it will only marginalise the Iraqi Sunnis, isolate the Iraqi Shiaa from the surrounding Arabic and the wider Muslim world and pushing it further towards Iran which is expert in using the Shiaa of the Arab world to achieve its dreams of dominating the region. Dismantling of the United Shiaa Alliance and subsequently the sectarian—constructed government and the intervention of the international community through the UN is the only option to limit the political and ideological platforms available for the Sunni extremists to exploit, end the American occupation and most importantly build a free democratic Iraq for all Iraqis.

1 comment:

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