Will Iraq implode?

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By Fatih Abdulsalam

Azzaman, February 1, 2014

Almost every Iraqi city, town, district or village today boasts of having its own military council. We do not have an exact number of these councils and it is not always clear who stands behind them.

But the situation is getting problematic and dangerous because every party sees itself the one in command within its field.

One good example of how even big cities and provinces are run by military councils are the strategic cities of Ramadi and Falluja west of Baghdad, which have turned into truly militarized zones.

The number of those fleeing these two cities is surging and is on its way to reach the figures of those forced to leave their areas at the height of sectarian fighting in 2006 if we take last week’s statistics as a base or measure.

It is not easy to be displaced in a country that is divided on sectarian and ethnic lines. Where are those displaced people – tens of thousands families – going to be settled? Most cities and towns in Iraq have their own problems and setting up refugee camps is not feasible at a time the whole of western Iraq has turned into a battlefield.

And the upsurge in insecurity is not confined to Ramadi and Falluja. It could easily spread to other areas including the provinces in southern Iraq.

What is happening in Iraq could be a replica of the scenario in Syria. Pondering on the situation, one can detect that the catastrophe engulfing Syria could befall on Iraq too.

There are so many parallels between what is happening in Syria.

There are well founded fears that Iraq is racing to become the second Syria and that the sides have turned a page on political solutions or reconciliation.

Where is all this taking us? Are we heading headlong into the fragmentation of the country when the federal system enshrined by the constitution is no longer desirable? Are we heading towards the unknown and the implosion of the country?

Which way the country turns there is a heavy price to pay, particularly in blood. Are those running the country aware of the situation? They probably are, but none of them is ready to listen to the voice of logic.