A country of contradictions

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Fatih Abdulsalam

Azzaman, June 22, 2014

In no stage of its modern history Iraq has been facing as many contradictions as it is now. Everything that is taking place in the county at the moment contradicts logic and common sense.

The first contradiction is represented in the government’s eagerness and pleading for the return of U.S. troops to Iraq to provide the type of assistance it extended prior to their pullout in 2011.

Before the withdrawal of U.S. troops, Iraqi officials played the role of capable statesmen with the ability to maintain security. They wanted the Americans out because they thought Iraq was an independent country with dignity and possession of military power that will defeat terrorist organizations.

The outcome following the withdrawal of U.S. troops was known. The country remained without effective sovereignty. It had an ‘artificial army’ because it was built on sectarian lines, with ranks and file dominated by militia and rancor.

This is why the armed forces melted away and could not stand their first encounter in the absence of U.S. assistance.

The second striking contradiction is the combination between ‘turbaned’ clerics on the one hand and military uniforms and guns on the other.

The third contradiction is the eruption of fighting between elements of the former Baath party and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). Their honeymoon did not last more than a few days with Baathists now vowing to turn their guns on ISIS.

The fourth contradiction can be seen in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city which ISIS has occupied. Is it not strange that there has been no explosions and suicide and car bombings in the weeks since ISIS has taken over the city?

Other contradictions have emerged since the shocking advances ISIS has made in the northern and central parts of Iraq. Most outstanding has been the way the U.S. and Iran have been approaching the country’s current predicament with the two adversaries almost having identical views of ISIS and what it needs, first to halt its advances and second the push for its eventual defeat.