Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July 16th Iraq SITREP by Mindfriedo: Of Presidents and men

Thank you everyone, Saker in particular, and open minded Sunni commentators who were open about my “sectarian” post and only sought to guide me in their replies. I will try to keep religion out till the next library burns. But I have answered some of the issues raised in this SITREP.

Quote of the day: I am a Muslim, neither Shia nor Sunni, and I go to Shia Mosques as well as Sunni
Thought of the Day: Is the answer that simple?

16th July: Iraqi troops and allied militias have taken a beating in Tikrit and withdrawn in the face of heavy mortar and sniper fire.
16th July: Iran congratulates Salim Al Jabouri on being elected to the post of Speaker. The post of the speaker has to be held by a Sunni. The EU has also congratulated Al Jabouri. Maliki has also congratulated Al Jabouri.
16th July: Dick Cheney, close friend of Mass Murderer Tony Blair, calls Obama as the worst President in US history and blames Maliki for the failure of the Iraqi state. In his view, the continued presence of US troops would have averted the resurgence of Daash.
16th July: Jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan has sent a message to Jalal Talibani (PUK) and Massoud Barzani (KDP) to unite in facing attacks by Daash militants. The Kurdish regions in Syria have been facing serious attacks (kidnappings included) by Daash militants in an effort by the latter to increase the boundaries of the DI of Daash.
16th July: The Iraqi speaker Al Jabouri accepts nominations for different ministries
16th July: The Mayor of Baqouba, Abdullah Hamid Al Hayali, has provided evidence that the 44 prisoners killed in a government jail were in fact executed by Shia Militias. He has in his possession photographs and death certificates of the deceased. He is also fearful for his life. The militias allegedly shot some at point blank range, fired machine guns into some cells, and threw grenades. The nephew of the mayor was one of those executed.
16th July: The 21+ women shot to death in Baghdad were killed in a Shia neighbourhood.
16th July: Daash is reportedly making a lot of money through oil sales. Estimates put the daily revenue of Daash at USD 1 million.
16th July: 14 Civilians are killed and injured in a car bomb attack in Western Ramadi
16th July: The inhabitants of Mosul are growing weary of Daash and its harsh and oppressive policies. The majority of the people supporting Daash are those that settled in Mosul over the last three decades.
One advantage, in a manner of speaking, of the open rebellion has been that sleeper cells, involved in planting bombs and causing disturbances, came out to openly in support of the rebellion and identified themselves to the authorities.
16th July: Kurdish farmers in Sulaimaniyeh stopped Exxon Mobil from oil drilling in the area. The farmers were afraid for their crops and livestock. Past activities of Exxon Mobil have been shown to cause harm to the natural environment.
16th July: Over 350000 Turkoman Shias are refugees from Tal Afar
16th July: Bad news for Turkey-The UN is asking for economic sanctions on Daash
16th July: Six Daash rebels are arrested in Najaf. They entered the city as Shia refugees from the north
16th July: The Hujja Shia mosque is destroyed by Daash militants in Tawakul village, Diyala
16th July: The death toll from yesterday’s twin bombing in Sadr City has increased to 59
16th July: Atta's/Government's claim for the day:
Government Air Strikes target a Daash/Rebel parade in Mosul killing 14, including Abdul Aziz al-Maytoni, a militant believed to be behind assassinations
Daash/rebel fighters are killed outside Baiji refinery in Government air strikes
The Iraqi army acts on intelligence reports and raids a militant compound where IEDs are prepared in Samarra.
Khamiss Mohsen Farhan, a former Iraqi Army Colonel and currently a commander within the Daash forces in Baiji, is killed by Security Forces

16th July: Assad is sworn in as Syria’s President. He promises that Western and Arab states involved in the carnage in Syria will pay.
16th July: The Government in Bahrain has increased its alert levels after shots were reportedly fired at a police station
16th July: Syrian Jihadist fire rockets into Eastern Lebanon
16th July: The Lebanese border town of Ersal that had backed Jihadist rebels has slipped further into complete lawlessness with daily assassinations, murder, and kidnappings.
16th July: Indian news media reports of Indian Sunni Jihadist that are travelling to Iraq disguised as Shia pilgrims

Short (long) Analysis in reply to comments made:

A few personal caveats:
Half my family from my grandmother's side are Wahabbi, members of militant anti Shia groups.
My cousin from my father's side is married to a Sunni boy (non Wahabbi). My cousin on my mother's side is married to a Sunni girl (non Wahabi). We are not sectarian in our outlook, but we do call a spade a spade, be it a Shia spade or a Sunni spade.
I have no sympathy for Shia death squads or Sunni terrorists. Being a Shia I hate the Shia death squads more. They are an embracement just as are uninspiring Shia Mullahs or the Mullahs in Iran who sought power and changed the Shia apolitical religion forever.

Political caveats: The videos that Saker posted recently were of Sunni Muslim fighters. Good men, Nobel and good Muslims, better than me for doing and not talking. The Chechens/Ossetians and the Afghan fighter (though he had a touch of Hazara or Tajik to his eyes) were Sunni men fighting Nazis. Not Shia. They are “Hezbollah” or the party of God just as much as the Lebanese group.

Religious caveats: Most Sunni Imams are of a better caliber than those from Shia communities. The reason for this is that in the relatively poor Shia communities the dumbest go for a religious education. But at the higher level, Sunni alims/scholars rarely come close to the education level or knowledge of their Shia counterparts. This is to do with the duration of study, and the depth of the subject matter. Also in the Shia education system certain individuals who show potential are advanced by their masters: Meritocracy. Certain aspects of study were closed after the Sunni Madhabs were established. Wahabbi scholars come in last. The highest Mufti in Saudi Arabia has been blind since he was 18 years old; he was the one who called Sistani debauched. Low level Wahabbi Imams become scholars after three years of study in Saudi Arabia. Shias are referred to as Kafirs for their beliefs; beliefs which are much more solid than Sunni ones. The Sunni belief system of giving importance to minor pirs/saints and local Aauliyas/scholars is so fragile, that most find the Puritan approach of the Salafis appealing. The Salafi argument of asking from God directly after he has appointed Prophets and Imams is akin to the Shaitan refusing to bow to Adam, stating that he has prayed to God directly. But it is finding acceptance far and wide. But we are digressing again. The Sunni faith the world over is ending. The Salafi propagation is too strong. I know of Shias who have converted, not just Sunni. The Sunnis find it hard to be critical of the Salafis because the points the latter stress-on are salat and piety. Things lacking in moderates who can oppose them.
The condemnation of Daash that the Sunni Imams do is literally the least they can do. They have a greater responsibility as they are the custodians of the Sunni faith. They are in ways responsible for where the Ummah is heading.

The argument of the Syrian soldier being Sunni and Assad's army being mostly Sunni.

I will try and address this argument the best I can.
Politically, Syrian society, much like Egyptian society, is split on an ideological line. Those that believe in the Ikhwan (brotherhood) and those that hate them. The word is hate not disagree. I have met Egyptians, pious Muslims, that hate the Ikhwan. So those fighting for Assad are also those that hate the quasi religious types. In Egypt it is not a sectarian question, it is a question of political Islam.
Religiously, Syrians have had a secular education: teaching concepts such as Pan Arabism and Nationalism. Syria has had an Alawite minority that stressed on religion being immaterial but secretly holding power through their sectarian tribal loyalist. Contrast this with Iraq where Saddam drilled a macho, Arab champion against Persian imperialism education into his subjects. The Sunni in Syria is far more open minded than the Sunni in Iraq. The Sunni in Syria does not see Iran as an enemy, the Iraqi one does.
Demographically in Syria the Allawis were, till Assad came to power, deprived. The only job open to them was the army. While Sunnis studied to become doctors, tradesmen, engineers, the Allawis took the only job they could. This association with the army got them power. Even today Syrian units will have Allawi minders and there will be a disproportionate number of Allawis in the army. Even though people stress that it is Sunni Syrians defending an Allawi President, it's not for those reasons at all. It has, unfortunately little to do with Religion.
Finally, the Syrian army was and is tough. A couple of years ago militants attacked a military headquarters in Damascus. They rammed two explosive laden vehicles on both entrances and then stormed the building. It took the Syrian army four hours to get the building back from entrenched rebels, just four. They have been trained over time by the Soviets and have a military tradition of sorts. They are professional soldiers. This keeps them loyal as well. Compare this to the Libyan army that was either loyal on account of tribal relations or because of Vitamin "M."

I hope this shows that there are other factors for the Syrian army being loyal and fighting the Jihadist.

Now, my Sunni and Shia brothers are right. This is not a forum for religious discussion. But it is one for intelligent political debates. I would like the Sunni Muslims to answer, what are the Shias to do? Or better still what would they do if they were Shias in IRAQ? When a bomb goes off every day in Sadr city, and your mother, father, wife/husband, sister/brother is killed, you go to their funeral the next day, and another bomb goes off, you get back home, and the next day another bomb goes off, and you see the same militants being supported by Sunni politicians in Anbar, where do you see your enemy? How long will you blame the Zionist/Americans for what their proxies are doing to you?

Iraq is a now different ball game. The Sunnis have lost power suddenly. They are left with sand and their mud huts. And they are not used to it. Their lot is the same as those Ummayads who were suddenly out of power when Ali ibn Talib was made Caliph. Basra in the south is floating on oil. Shias are more than 65% of the population if not higher. If you count all the Iraqi/Iranian Shias thrown out by Saddam in the 80s they will probably account for 75% of Iraq’s population. The Shias after years of being kicked in the balls owe the Sunnis nothing, not a single damned thing. The fact that Sunni militants are not tortured before they are killed, should come as a surprise to one and all. The Sunnis do all manner of things to the Shias they kill. Play football with their severed heads, eat their livers, chop of the heads of their babies, bomb their mosques, loot their homes as war booty, and now burn their libraries. I have no hatred for either side, though some will see bias in my thinking.

Yes Iraq is going through hard times. Yes the Sunnis are feeling left out. But look what it took to get rid of the Jihadist in Syria. Look at the after photos of Qussayr and Homs. Not a single building standing. Assad was ruthless, he pulverized everything. That was the only way he could fight the madness that these Jihadist brought with them. Unwilling to give up unless kicked and beaten. The Shias will take time to get organized; they have no military tradition in Iraq. If you see the Atta’s/government’s claims I post every day, you will see that most rebel deaths are by airstrikes. The Iraqi army and militia are not quite there yet. But if the Sunnis keep harboring Daash, sooner or later the Shias will pulverize everything.