Category Archives: Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

Islamic State: war of ideology – not of religion

Islamic State operates in typical fashion, quite obvious to most analysts, but they are not always properly perceived by the West. Lack of appropriate conclusions is caused by the political game which in many aspects uses ISIS or Salafism but also right-wing radicals for the short range electoral competitions. Unfortunately western democracy’s parties are all about the winning elections and they would do everything to get or to stay in power. I call that decadence of the western style democracies. That allow all kinds of extremism to promote themselves if only they are numbered enough to get some advantage to the political parties. Salafists in Belgium, UK, France or Germany are the example of that mechanism but as the opposition grows right-wing extremist organizations and support for them.

From the another perspective, the purpose of the terrorist attacks of ISIS, is not just sowing chaos or promote some – a radical version of Islam, but it has a precise and clearly defined strategic objective. It is to build political autonomy for ideological conflict with any other political center. The best opponent are the right-wing extremists radicalized in the same level as they. Attacks in Europe are addressed not just against Christianity or secularism, but against the Western democracies. Attacks in Sinai are not meant to fight local, “not enough believers” Sunnis, but political power which prevent extremists from growing. Even if that prevention in Egypt is often with use of brutal methods, we need to understand the alternative. Exactly the same problem aroused in Syria in 2011 after the first spontaneous social revolts. There also extremists took the charge of the revolution  very soon and transformed it into the struggle for power where alternative seams to be worse than the ruthless dictator. The terrorist attacks of IS in Baghdad is not directed just against Shiites, but against the political establishment in Tehran and their political emanation in Baghdad. Striking a society intensifies military operations or reprisals against Sunni (Iraq and Syria), and those with no other choice (sometimes seduced by radical ideology – but not religion) replenish the ranks of ISIS.

The information policy of ISIS uses the official religious content, for obvious reasons. It is easy to convince people, who are subjected to brutal oppression in Iraq, and Syria, but also Egypt and Libya, and their propaganda work on that in Europe as well, that God commands them to take revenge on the oppressors. To hide this radical ideology under the “guise” of religion, it allows you to acquire people outside the circle of Sunni Islam and even those who adopt Islam, just to get there and join the brutal fight. These in turn are the most valuable, because they become promoters of the ideology. If this come from cultures other than Arabic, they are of special propaganda value for ISIS, easier affecting the society from which they come.

The person who read not only the Holy Koran, but a number of books suggested by an imam or other person prepared by the ideologists of extremist organizations, begins to perceive the world in completely different way. Such individual perceives other people from its environment as the unconscious (and therefore in their opinion blind for “the real truth”), which in itself causes a sense of uniqueness. This uniqueness encountering opposition family, school, often intelligence services to monitor the transfer of information on the web, quickly generates a sense of injustice and utter alienation. They search for salvation in finding other like-minded in the West or even join militants in the Middle East. Of course, these mechanisms are well known in psychology and are not associated only activity the Islamic State, but it is this organization which can use them perfectly.

Radicalization of such units can be observed by the their rejection of contact with representatives of the all other way of thinking, not just democracy or Christianity and not even just the shia but also other sunnis who are not thinking exactly the same as them. This ideology which one can call a manipulated Islam is preached by Salafists. It becomes a threat, because leaves no room for compromise, like that on which is built the whole European order or West.

So in the Salafis ideology there is no room for tolerance, they can only look forward to the moment in which they will dominate the rest – “the others”. That is why President El-Sisi in Egypt restricts the rights of Salafists. Limiting their rights is a necessity, because in the opinion of the members of this group their right is to dominate the whole of society and impose on them a way of life consistent with their own ideology. The rights of both parties are so completely contradictory. Let me add that both parties in common sense represent sunni Islam. And fact that Salafists do not integrate, or even refuse to cooperate with other groups, assuming the divisions and conflict, to dominate all, in my opinion, makes them more a sect with use of radical ideology, than a religious group or faction. Of course, as in any case, so in that case the generalizations are unfair, but I will come back to that later.

So in some way those who argue that Islam can not be combined with democracy are right – but only in part, because it concerns the ideology of Salafists. Salafists themselves willing to agree with the fact that Islam does not fit for democracy and desire that all Muslims have to follow them. After all, their ideology has just proclaimed that only they are the true Muslims! So if all Muslims would have been the Salafists, then you would have to agree that Islam can not be integrated or even can’ cooperate with any other social groups. The far right (and after every terrorist attacks grow stronger) go on this issue succor salafits and ISIS proclaiming that Islam can not integrate into democracy … so you need radical solutions. As you can see radicalism is very similar to each other regardless of the views and it leads to war which can be nothing but destruction of all our (European) world.

People radicalized in Europe or in US can not officially admit they support ISIS without consequences from the state. Such persons can therefore proclaim their allegiance to the Salafists and properly promote almost all ISIS doctrines without mentioning their name. Certainly not all Salafists are terrorists just as not every sect is dangerous for their surrounding, but this ideology is only one step for ISIS. This is evidenced by direct intelligence reports speak of direct cooperation of Salafi organizations in Europe with ISIS (Short path to jihad. Salafists in Germany recruit new fighters). The fact that Pierre Vogel, the most famous Salafit in Germany, officially does not support ISIS can be attributed to a conflict of interest with the ISIS or ordinary lie allowing him continue its operation without conflict with the law.

However, if the Salafists are to be seen as a sect of extreme ideology, there is a huge number of Muslims outside their ranks, with can live in democracy or under secular rule  saving the confidence in the model of multicultural societies.

It should be emphasized that every movement, every ideology and religion are composed of people having their doubts, thoughts etc. Even if so Salafists are perceived as an monolith, because of the threat caused by their ideology, we need to be aware of the inevitability of the multiplicity of their strands. So let’s always talk, negotiate and convince, because not everyone Salafit will be just as involved in the ideology dictated by propagandists.

Undoubtedly, even if ISIS will disappear as a state in northern Iraq and Syria, the Salafi radicalism will remain in the form of sects within Islamic societies, as in every other culture and religion are radical sects based on manipulated fundamentalism. Any such sect proclaims its uniqueness and monopoly on the “only truth faith”. If, however, the society will be able to live without wars, ethnic cleansing and brutal oppression then without any interventions they will be able to limit the impact of radical sects – especially those who use terrorism.

This is the essence of the social psychology and ideas like “Lucifer Effect” vs “Heroic Imagination Project” (HIP) of prof. Zimbardo. Social impact can create Lucifer Effect – creating ISIS hiding under cover of Salafism or Neo-nazists hiding under cover of nationalism (not confuse it with patriotism please). But the same social impact can also build civilized, cooperative and open to others but still safe societies, which HIP as mechanism is an example. If we will not recognize soon enough, basing on all human science and experience what path leads to peace and security and what is the straight way to divisions and negative conflicts tearing apart our societies, then radicals will win which would strengthen their  conviction that God has sent them to impose a world order – their order. In this (worst scenario) case the God could be easily replaced by the Lucifer and nobody will see the difference. 

Middle East relations in 2003 and 2016

The relationships in the Middle East presented in these two illustrations do not include all the actors in international relations but only those who have the greatest importance to the ongoing conflict there. The first picture shows the situation at the start of the invasion of Coalition Forces against Iraq in 2003. Iraq did not have any strong allies then, but also the vast majority of the countries in the region – despite pressure from the United States, did not support this intervention. Blue lines indicate cooperation or strategic alliances, these cannot therefore be equated with support for US policy in the region, especially due to the war in Iraq. Also Turkish politics are essentially important there and these have dramatically changed. In 2003, on the one hand, it was called the policy of “zero conflict with neighbours” and on the other, the conflict with the Kurdish minority could be described ‘managed’ – both points changed afterwards.  Another critical difference is the lack of direct interaction of Russia in 2003. The USA therefore had a very comfortable situation in which they were able to use any variant of the operation against the Taliban and Saddam Hussein.

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In 2016 relationships  are much more hidden in  the official fight against ISIS by Turkey, Russia and Saudi Arabia. In fact, all three countries use the existence of this organization for the achievement of their own goals. A very large impact on the complication and deterioration of the geopolitical situation is the emergence of Russia with its characteristic style of diplomacy and warfare. Russia is using Assad’s plight  to try to strengthen its influence in the region, and for this purpose, it is also looking for an alliance with the Syrian Kurds. Such an alliance would be extremely dangerous due to the likely actions of the Kremlin pushing the Kurds to a confrontation with Turkey, in which Russia will perform as a defender of the Kurds. Russia, playing its games with Kurdish hands could gain politically but that would cause dramatic problems for the Kurds themselves as a result of such involvement. Unfortunately, the dramatic change of Ankara’s policy against the Kurds, resulted from the internal political issues of Turkey itself, but effected both  the AKP, Erdogan and Kurds also. As both sides are still allies of the West, it is therefore the West’s obligation to force them to the negotiations (Kurds and Turkey).

On the other hand, another very negative signal for the West is the obvious cooperation of a large part of the FSA (Free Syrian Army) with Al-Nusra which is a faction of Al-Qaeda, supported by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and which in turn cooperates with ISIS.

In both cases, the main axis of conflict is the relationship Iran – Saudi Arabia. Their rivalry for dominance in the region, fueling radicalism on the one hand and  shiites and sunnis on the other. Both groups are used by politicians for constant wars with each other from Yemen, to Iraq. Badly carried out intervention in Iraq, but also support of a coup in Libya and the destabilization of Syria have caused a series of open conflicts and increased tension in many relationships in the region. It is also essential to understand that the political plans of the Kurds living in four countries – Iraq: KRG (Kurdish Regional Government), YPG Syria, Turkey, the PKK and the Kurds in Iran are not the same. The strongest political representation and quasi-statehood are those of the Iraqi Kurds. However, in all parts of Kurdistan these organizations are not the only representatives of the Kurds, they also do not have a common political line.

While the government of President Heydar al-Abadi in Iraq is making an effort to win over Sunni and maintain the unity of the rest of Iraq (apart from the de facto already independent Iraqi Kurdistan), many Shiite militia under the control of Iran continue to conduct violent actions directed against the Sunnis. This situation is the main reason for Sunnis supporting ISIS, as previously the same was with Al-Qaeda. The same problem was one of the main reasons for which the previous Prime Minister of Iraq – Nouri al-Maliki was forced to leave the office.

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Are wars for oil inevitable?

hqdefaultIt’s just a suggestion. I can’t support it with scientific facts, or with exact figures as I’m unable to prove with certainty the participation of man in the global climate warming. Nevertheless, the claims of the outbreak of World War III, due to conflicts over access to areas rich in oil prompted me to reflect on this. So, if science and technology created electric engines, especially in the 21stc, such as trains running on magnetic levitation, wind power and solar energy, why is oil still so significant and what is more likely to escalate conflict? Why does the whole world still have to fight for something that is almost replaced already? Isn’t that absurd? When I write word “absurd”, what comes to my mind is politics, and then the lobbying, corporations, banks, politically correct slogans such as “1% vs 99%,” etc.

Aren’t we in the alleged global conflict of oil just because of large corporations that do not want and cannot come to terms with the changes? Isn’t the fact that the project DESERTEC has been “suspended” because of the lack of profitability? However, this project has not been calculated for profit or loss, but on the benefits of political stabilization of the region.

So today, there is inflammation and a departure from traditional energy sources and the gradual transition to renewable sources. If you count the profits from the exploitation of oil, but thrown into the balance sheet also the wars in the Middle East and Africa, and losses counted today amongst a country’s debt, the threat to Western societies resulting from the terrorism arising from these wars, and we consider the greater majority of the population that does not participate in direct profits from trading oil, it turns out that it is a source of very scarce supply for the vast majority of societies.

There are many socially beneficial but unprofitable projects- almost all basic science is like that. But a more unprofitable and so drastically conflicting and perhaps completely unnecessary enterprise than the “War of Oil” is hard to even imagine.

As an observer and researcher of world politics, I have a growing conviction that a lot of things that happen now are created for the needs of conflict and the struggle for influence, and therefore power and we – ordinary people are tools to create and participate in these conflicts.

Powerful corporations, having their entire structure built on the basis of various institutions and interests in one way or another, with the industry dependent on oil, are responsible for the fact that these terribly bloody and devastating conflicts are ongoing. Add to that politicians who are addicted to, bought by or not competent enough to fight negative lobbying. For this, banks related to the corporations and politicians take advantage of our money and finance the war for oil.

The whole system, thus created, is now impossible (as, unfortunately, I believe) to change in the short term, therefore the war for oil is under way and even now threatens global conflict.

Another problem is political leadership, whose country budget depends (at their own request) on oil – like Putin’s. They believe have no choice but to fight for oil, or for the higher price of it, and expand their sphere influence. Others are afraid of their unpredictability and try to limit those “opportunities” for them.

In the Middle East, where the axis of “Oil wars cross mostly, the Kurds are used as pawns in the “competition”. They also trying to use that situation and enter the scene as a state and for this purpose, they will do almost anything. Currently, the complicated “Kurdish issue” becomes the epicenter of the war, where the actual substrata is Oil. The problem is not, that Kurdish areas are richest in petroleum, but: 1. they are deeply in conflict with Turkey, 2. necessarily want to become a state, 3. the West is, as usual, very ambiguous and 4. Russia wants to use them against Turkey. 5. You can add more to this – ISIS, Iran, the war in Syria, GCC states seeking, as Iran is doing, for influence in the same places, and that Israel, which has weapons of mass destruction and would not hesitate to use it if they will predict seriously danger for their existence.

Thus we have presumption and conditions for World War III – now it is essential that the West starts to pursue a rational policy – not avoiding problems, but measuring them. The problem for now – is to bring Turkish and Kurdish leaders to negotiations, which would take over the main argument from the hands of Putin. That would provide a strong and stable –pro-Western- ally, significantly reduce tension in relations with Turkey, but also with Iraq, Iran and Syria. Finally, it would stem escalating violence and then we could look for a second step to decrease the conflicts. That would be the stabilization of the Middle East and settling the relations with Russia (with the general condition there has to be true independence of Ukraine).

But all that would be possible if we refuse to use oil and other energetic resources as a main bacground of all actions. There is a strong need for a good Strategy for security in the Middle East and for decreasing the terrorist threat in Europe. But we can create it and use it only when we choose reasonable politicians not depended on corporations and banks.

Donald Trump in the context of this article seams the worst possible choice.

For the correction I would like to thank to Sarah:

Like a Christian with a Muslim: Mohamed Abu Omar, Maciej Milczanowski

In texts I have written many times that I consult my views and opinions not only in conferences or seminaries, with people in work or trough interviews. I have very honest friends in the Middle East – like Mohamed Abu Omar, with whom I spoke just after Charlie Hebdo tragedy and now after Paris massacre. What is obvious to me thanks to friends like him, but doesn’t have to be so obvious to majority of the people in the West, usually we have very similar point of view. The text which provoked the following conversation is this: As the #MyPointofView after Paris massacre I say: no WAR but goodPOLICY at last!! 

Our conversation started from the comment of Mohamed to the article

10303441_10203145168621618_4750661094235552213_nMohamed Abu Omar: well , war or not ? … we are in War,  against whom? … against Terrorism and Whoever support it but as You said. 

Maciej Milczanowski: Your questions are the same I’ve asked in my text 😉 Although I didn’t wrote about states which support terrorism. Now I say, we are pretty sure these are: Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia – for the Sunni groups as IS or AQ. From the other side Iran – for the Shia Militias in Iraq, and for the Hezbollah and Hamas – which is Sunni but still supported by Iran. At the last but not least Yemeni Shia are also supported by Iran to win the permanent Iranian control over territory there. What is Your opinion about it?

MO: unfortunately Putin is right saying that some countries of the G20 are among the 40 countries supporting / funding ISIS – as KSA, Turkey, but also UK and USA etc… believe me it’s the ugly truth. We keep suffering of the UK, USA tolerating and supporting Muslims Brotherhood in Egypt. A liberal guy like me and others can’t get a visa to the West … while the bearded guys can !!!


MM
: Yes I agree. Putin is right in more points (which I am not happy about) – like from the very beginning of the Syrian war he said that the task of the West, China and Russia (all together) is to bring FSA and Assad to the negotiations and and direct the struggle against A-Nusrah. Negotiations were meant to project the way of Syrian government to be not representatives of just one group there or/and to step down,  but in accordance with the process – not a sudden change. But West didn’t want even to consider such plan and as the first point they raised: “Assad must go!” call. Of course Putin doesn’t propose that because he is so democratical, just in this case his aims coincidently were right. As for the West, all politicians are connected somehow and depend one from another. Thus we can always say they are supporting or responsible for supporting or overthrowing dictatorships or terrorists. I also believe that searching for the “democracy” in Iraq and Syria was just a cover to fight for the control of the territories,  the same as Putin sending his troops and mercenaries to Ukraine wants to regain the control over it. Also France, GB and USA generally support MB or even branches of AQ and IS when it is in “their interest” – if that can be named so. That is what I wanted to express in my article – the main mistake! Such policy directed only on the shorthanded goals without understanding of the consequences and thus without real International Security Strategy produces wrong consequences.  

MO: New Policy has to be created, but not that policy of the same old question: “How to Treat Muslim World?” It’s actually very simple: stop trying to interfere under any name, let Muslims solve their internal issues, stop re-organize the Middle East states. Our borders right now which Anglo-French drawn it 100 years ago are WRONG as they never respect or understand the different trips/ethnics and they designed countries in strange way. But to re-design it again, actually, it’s another mistake any country has a civil war, or dissolved, will be a warm environment for terror fighting against dictatorships can’t be done by destroying countries it selves. Just west has to remember one last point: Muslims are not looking for occupying others lands … except these terrorists , they are believing in Imperialism and controlling others homelands i mean , Egyptians , Tunisians , Syrians , Iraqis … etc by nature they are not looking to spread or extend their lands or whatever … as a normal muslims citizens , but terrorists and any Islamist System like ISIS or Iran, it is all the same, they are dreaming of imperialism and all these blablabla… 

MM: Naming who struggles for “imperialism” You mentioned just Iran and IS. Don’t You think that Gulf countries like KSA, Qatar and Kuwait using Sunnis and IS & AQ as well are fighting against Iranian-Shia influences? I believe that this fight for influences and resources is not led just by the West and terrorists but the mentioned countries plus Turkey are cooperating with the West mostly to use them to control as much as they can in the Middle East. That is right that Egypt, Tunisia, Syria are not the part of that competition now, but mabe only because they are in the special political situation now? That is why I divide the politicians which usually believe that their main task – the so called National Interest is to secure the control over others, while people prefer to have a more partner relations with others. Of course it is generalization but I believe it is more or less true. And that would give a good chance for the people like us to talk openly and honestly about the subjects which politicians could never agree. In that case Muslims as You said (also from Iran and territories controlled by so called IS) are those who doesn’t want any imperial aims at the prize of war. When it comes to politicians, there are different types, but many of them – especially in the countries who have potential – they are much more eager to use their people, to trigger the conflicts aiming in the “National Interest” which in fact is their party of group interest. 

MO: So, West has to stop asking the same question: “how to deal with Muslims”. Muslims are not the problem , or Islam … it’s Islamists who use their  Islam as a cover for their dreams, same as Jews vs Zionists, Christians vs Crusaders. 

MM: Exactly,  we always have,  in all cultures, moderate people who want to live and develop and the extremists who want to control, doesn’t trust anyone, are aggressive toward “others”. Would Yuo call those Islamists the same way I named them in my article: islamo-fascists? 

MO: Yes. It’s is crucial to differentiate between Muslims & Islamists. Muslims believe in Allah as the God, Islam as the way to him, Islamists believe in Islam and Machiavelli way (anything to get what you want) as their way it’s like , someone who was looking for Money to Buy a House … forgot his Aim/End and became a slave to Money. So it is basic to filter your immigration and refugees from Islamic world, but how West is doing that,  became everybody joke in local simple Kahwa (Coffee Shop). “Beards” get Schengen and USA visa, while normal liberals no. It’s everybody’s opinion – in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, etc., all simple people say that. 

And please, stop using freedom of media for Al-Jazeera while preventing the other 200 channels from broadcast to EU/USA! It’s brainwash the youth Muslims inside EU/USA. Notice that too: all who did Paris attacks are born in EU except 1 or 2! and among them 4 pure French by DNA! The danger isn’t coming from abroad EU as much as it’s already inside EU so, bombing Syria and Libya by French supporting Russians, is just for Media and absorb people in France anger , nothing more. Believe it or not: Russia/Germany and even Poland has much more security against Islamists than UK/USA/France just by stepping a step behind. Your article is totally good i my opinion.

MM: Thanks Mohamed for great talk. I always count on Your opinions and I am happy to have You as a friend. 

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After Paris masarce I say: no WAR but good POLICY at last!!

686997efbbd43f522df7e7d2d1e6fbfeAfter 11/09, and the following the attacks in Madrid, London, Charlie Hebdo and today – after the massacre in Paris the same password is raised again: “We are at war!” “We must fight!” So I ask – Against whom? Where? Who is the enemy? I would like to remind, that George W. Bush declared the war already, 14 years ago – on the ruins of the World Trade Center the day after the attacks in 2001. This war continues, and is/was conduced in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Mali, CAR and others. In this war we hit with full force, and hundreds of thousands of troops (Afghanistan and Iraq) or operate less formally, but equally deadly (Yemen, Syria) sometimes openly support those who supposedly are fighting against dictatorship (Libya and Syria, and there were those who wanted to help in Egypt but thankfully they didn’t decided that). The opponent, however, continually strengthens and hit us occasionally, but extremely accurately causing death, fear and doubt. Time to realize – against whom we conduct the war, and who runs it against us? Another cry: “We are at war!” or “You have to fight!” will lead to further ill-considered military action, the consequence of which will be to strengthen the real enemy. At our own request we incur further losses in the army – sent no sense to the Middle East, and civilians more easily attacked in our (European or US) cities, not to mention further victims in the places of conflict in the Middle East – but that, in this day, after the terrorist attacks in Paris, probably only a few interests.

Who and where is the enemy I tried to show in the text:

Charlie Hebdo: Islam vs. Islamism

Why it is easy for them to grow and take action here:

Decision making process in Iraq in 2003

and here:

Syria: searching of lesser evil

MOST IMPORTANT – How to fight it:

Outline of the International Security Strategy

and partly here:

Humanitarian missions int he stabilization operation

I also wrote that further policy based on “WAR” will lead to further the spiral of violence, which, by the crisis of refugees and terrorist attacks already reaches Europe and the USA. In this connection it should be remembered that the war on radicalism – rightly called Islamo-fascism did not begin on September 11, 2001, but the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon were just the consequence of consistently wrong Western policy in the Middle East. The Middle Eastern societies at the end of the twentieth and the early twenty-first century is undergoing massive social changes, unnoticed by Western politicians or misinterpreted (as a sign of “explosion” of Western-style democracy). With no change in this policy, it is impossible to achieve peace and stability. These can only be achieved through wise (multi disciplinary and multi-level, varied – depending on the place etc.) international politics. Of course, also in case of such policy, military operations are a necessity, but they must be part of the policy and give results in the form of political progress, and not be objective or in response to enemy action. The war goes on and the opponent is getting better methods and tools to attack “us”. At the same time, many of us do not realize how many allies, we have the “other” side. I personally know many Syrians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Palestinians and Turks, who continuously demonstrate calling for “us”, that tolerating radicalism in the Western world, allowing the marches of Islamo-fascists calling for the overthrow of the democratic government and the establishment in the place of Sharia law, respecting freedom Citizens by not placing wiretaps in places where there is a promotion of hate, overthrowing the dictatorship in the Middle East – all that generate great risk! What’s more, the losses we get,  triggers our anger directed against those who are easy to reach (about which I wrote in the text of Charlie Hebdo). They are Muslims praying in the Mosque, Muslim children in school, women, often teachers, doctors, who like us are afraid of extremists and terrorists. The true enemy is the one who treats us as an enemy and   he is reachable despite the claims of the Politicians. We can not, however, see enemy between the dictators, groups not willing to cooperate with us or those who want to increase their influence in the region. Finally, we must separate the threat of extremism and terrorism from the economic interests, geopolitical influences etc. We hve to stop deciding for Middle Eastern societies and self-reliance of countries there, we have to treat them as partners. In that place we have to focus on the destruction of the actual centers of extremism and terrorism both in Middle East and West. We need partners and real allies against extremism and terrorism and for implementing a strategy similar to that which I suggested at the beginning of the text. If so, am sure that not more than six months would be enough to disappear: The so called Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusrah, Al-Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb and al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula and others. By doing this, the wealth of the West and the possibility of influencing policy would not have fall so badly as  Western leaders are worried.

                Of course, I also know well that this will not happen. The public want war and it will get it. “Tabloid War ” which will kill many “terrorists” – in fact the people living in the Middle East – not necessarily even a “bad” Muslims. between them they will get the persons related to the massacre in Paris. Nobody will say in Europe, that there are thousands of the same kind of people in the Middle East, so the threat will not be reduced even of half a percent. In this wa y “we will rebuild” sense of security for a while. It will grow with each killed a “terrorist” what will be presented by the politicians – just as the tabloids. In fact, we will prepare the ground for further attacks – more and more bloody, more easily conducted and more … provoking another wars. The extremists – as the name suggests live from extremes – chaos, war, injustice, poverty, geopolitical turmoil and , false image of the religion. This gives them the strengh and they get if from wars and again it threnghten their radicalism. More wars creates more radicals. Wars doesn’t kill radicals but create them!

Humanitarian missions and the military in the stabilization operations: the example of the intervention in Iraq 2003-2011

The Coalition forces intervention in Iraq – which ended in 2011 – can only be called a total failure. That operation was meant to be a stabilization operation, transformed later on into a training mission. But even during it’s existence it appeared to be clear that the military actions which were the core of this operation failed in every aspect. They did not brought democracy to Iraq, nor did they stabilize or reconstruct the country. So what went wrong, if there were enormous sums of money invested into this operation and hundreds of thousands of the soldiers rotated through Iraq? Many of those soldiers lost their life or their health. In the USA there are two main points of view in this respect. Republicans claim that George W. Bush’s plan and its realization fulfilled the task and brought stabilization to Iraq, but the next (Democratic) president – Barack Obama – ruined those efforts by withdrawing US troops too soon. On the other side, Democrats are convinced that the operation was wrong from its beginning, and Barack Obama simply lessened the consequences by withdrawing US soldiers. The decision making process of the Coalition Provisional Administration is presented in another article: “Decision making process and it’s consequences: (de)stabilization of Iraq” http://wp.me/p4y6QP-52. But that article does not explain all the reasons for the failure of the Iraq operation, only focusing on one (although decisive) point of the process which brought Iraq to ruin and chaos.

 Slajd1     Despite the political mistakes, another failure was the trust in the ability of the Armed Forces to stabilize the country. The reconstruction and establishment of peaceful interactions between ethnic and religious groups is not the task a military is prepared for so the Armed Forces dont have any tools or competencies to undertake such missions. To fulfill that gap, the PRT – Provisional Reconstruction Teams – were created at divisional and brigade levels. Those Teams were composed of civilian and military personnel. The civilian side was composed of State Justice or Agriculture Department representatives and also humanitarian organization people. The military part consisted of officers from logistics or CIMIC branches. Even if it (the composition) looked right on the paper, 10 PRTs for the whole of Iraq were not enough. In such a complicated and difficult situation as in the Iraq of 2003, only fully professional and experienced organization could bring real stabilization. Unfortunately in the Brigade Combat Teams all tasks were performed by military personnel who had to plan and perform these tasks under the pressure of the commanders. In 2007, the number of PRTs increased to 20, which was still just a drop in the ocean. In the case of Polish PRTs those teams were too small and their number too few, but most importantly they didn’t have any experience in nation-building. The military had at their disposal a large sum of money spent on activities which were unfamiliar for them (Robert M. Perito, Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Iraq, United States Institute of Peace, Special Report 185, March 2007).

Slajd2     The military, having the task of stabilizing the country, performed actions which were characteristic for them; patrols, convoys, shows of force, or cordon & search operations. Those activities were aimed at searching for and destroying the terrorists and the protection of their own personnel. Those actions made by the PRT’s or doctors under escort, performing so called “White Sundays”, were used by the media to show a picture of the stabilization mission which was widely disseminated in the West. The effect was measured by the media news, not in real help for the Iraqis. . The problem was that there was no wider plan of the country reconstruction – it was entirely ad-hoc. It caused the situation, when spending even large sums of money and with a relatively big effort of the military personnel involved, to become intractable.

The main focus of the Coalition Forces in Iraq was in fighting terrorism not stabilization in humanitarian terms. But the instability and lack of basic conditions for normal life gave life to terrorism. So the military in fact fought the enemy it created . At the other end are  humanitarian organizations, which there to help local people organize and take care of their lives. Such help is called “good” as it motivates the people to work. It gives them hope that there is a chance for progress and that, at the end will pass through their current difficulties. There is also “bad” help – which can render people unable to take care of their communities, families, making them dependent on foreign aid. The “bad” help does more harm than good in the long run. So true stabilization can only be achieved when there is some very well -prepared “good” humanitarian aid which starts local activity. The role of the military can only be in protection of the humanitarian workers and in protecting the area. Depending on the circumstances, there can also be the necessity to fight terrorists, but it needs to be really well- defined who could be called a terrorist. Unofficial definitions in that matter cause occasion for abuse.

There is a possibility of working out a model of a stabilization mission which has to be much more effective than the two largest stabilization missions of modern history: Iraq after 2003 and Afghanistan after 2001. There are good signs showing what such cooperation between military and humanitarian organizations can look like. Polish soldiers in Iraq showed constantly that in that field of operations, it is not the number of “terrorists” killed that can determine how the task is realized, but the quality of life in the Area of Responsibility. Soldiers did a lot to help people, even beyond the procedures. Ordinary soldiers without cameras and journalists quite often gave the food and water to the children – who were always waiting for Polish patrols. Those soldiers didn’t use force without necessity, because they were sensitive to human tragedy. Even now, most people in Iraq remember the Polish soldiers with sympathy. Other contingents acted in the same way (like the Bulgarians, the Lithuanians and others). At the other end of that scale were the private military organizations (like Blackwater) which spread chaos in their routes and areas of operation. I am sure there is a possibility to train and organize regular military units to protect humanitarian organizations without causing harm to their reputations or the abilities to proceed with their actions. It could produce truly quick and effective stabilization.
(The photos were taken by myself during patrol from Camp Echo to Camp Charlie and convoy from Camp Echo to Tallil).

Text was corrected thanks to Sarah La Pietra @ . Thank You Sarah

Decision making process and it’s consequences: (de)stabilization of Iraq

mid-east-religion

There is a tendency among the politicians and decision makers (key to the world order) for the simplifying of the most important issues. It helps to “understand” the matter of the problem, and take some decisive actions. The problem is that without careful analysis and taking all – or at least as much as possible – of the details into consideration, such actions can lead to disastrous effects for all concerned. So we had the issue of “good vs. bad” in the case of Saddam Hussein: After his removal it was meant to be easy to build democracy. Another simplification was in 2009, when the number of causalities decreased in Iraq, which for many simply mean that the country was stabilized. Moreover President Barack Obama, who wanted to withdraw troops from Iraq, was also convinced (or pretended so)  that Iraq was stable. And now we try once again to simplify the problems of Iraq in the case of Islamic State (IS, called also ISIS, ISIL or Da’esh). The way it operates, the way it makes people think is at last a clear picture: bad people against good people. Many say that IS is so radical and brutal, that it exceeds everything in the human history and that is the enemy of all people in the so- called civilized world. There are voices from the nations of the West, the Middle East and others to join their efforts to defeat this nightmare. For many people, it’s clear, that defeating IS will bring stability to Iraq again. Unfortunately this easy and straight picture is based on an incorrect assessment, because the situation in the region, and especially in Iraq, is not simple at all. Such simplification was the cause of many mistakes and misjudgements in that region, and following such a line will cause future problems for not only the Iraqis , but also for the region and the West. The so- called Islamic State is not the most brutal organization in history, nor in the recent times, not in the region and not even in violent and brutal in Iraq itself. The invasion of the Coalition Forces (CF) in Iraq of 2003 changed the balance of power in the region radically. The programme for the rebuilding of Iraq seems to have been haphazard and poorly thought-through. The original plan of the Iraq rebuilding seemed to be reasonable: The Director of the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, Jay Gardner, knew very well the situation in Iraq and realized the necessity of the difficult but fundamentally important status quo between the Sunni, Shia and the special role of the Kurds. But the replacement of Gardner by the pair of governors – Paul Bremer and Alamay Khalilzad, could not have been a worse solution. The first of them was meant to be in charge of US and CF and the second was to lead the rebuilding of the Iraq and establish new authorities with the necessary balance of power. Unfortunately those well prepared, discussed and widely consulted plans were drastically changed. First (and it seems, it was Bremer’s initiative) Khalilzad was removed from his position before he even showed up in Iraq. Then Bremer, after only a few consultations, and despite much criticism, decided to change the plan for Iraq completely. In just a few months, a man who had completely no experience in Iraq and seemed to be unaware of the pre-war plan for Iraq, made a chain of decisions which produced a completely new situation in that country. Bremer decided that keeping the balance between the groups inside Iraq after the war made no sense.

      First of all, he dissolved the Iraqi army. The composition of Saddam Hussein’s army was based on Sunnis holding the key positions but many Shia served in the army as well. Bremer switched it into Shia who were made the key personnel and he expected that Sunnis would fill the lower ranks. He wanted to reconstitute the Iraqi army with new recruits. So one of the first decisions was the banning of soldiers who were not in the barracks or in the battlefield from serving in the Iraqi Army. The same decision applied for the Police and Secret Service. In fact, at this moment it meant the disbanding of the Iraqi Armed Forces . He ignored the fact, that US Phyops, just before the invasion dropped tons of leaflets with warning directed to the Iraqi soldiers, that they have to stay in their homes in order to be brought back to the army after the war. The dissolution of the Iraqi Army, according to CPA Order number 2, made 385,000 armed, trained and quite well paid people unemployed. It meant those middle-class people couldn’t feed their families. Moreover, 285,000 policemen and 50,000 of Hussein’s Republican Guard were also dissolved, making the number of unemployed as high as 720,000 people who used to constitute the entire security system. Together, along with an ill-conceived “De-Baathifaction” policy, To create a new security system, at least few months was needed. In this period the Coalition Forces were responsible for keeping the law and order in the whole country. Another CPA order (released a little-bit earlier), dissolved also all civilian authorities of all main branches. Along with mashing of all Saddam’s system remnants, Paul Bremer removed all professional and experienced personnel of country infrastructure. Three highest layers of administration, responsible for every sphere of public life, from electricity or transportation, up to hospitals management were removed. In this case another 100,000 of people became unemployed. The chaos in the country was imminent.
Three years later, a new political cabinet composed of Iraqis was established. Together with the parliamentary elections which took place half year earlier, it was a plan for the democratizing of Iraq. In the parliament, as well as in the government, all main religious and cultural groups were included: Sunnis, Shia, Kurds. It was meant to be a national unity government, headed by PM Nouri Al-Maliki. Maliki was Shia, but he convinced US authorities that he would include all the important parties of Iraq . Unfortunately, in fact he did everything he could to bring the Shia to absolute power in Iraq, totally marginalizing all other groups. Even Iranians from Teheran University, asked by author of this text admitted that Maliki was not a good leader for building the national unity authorities (the author asked Dr Mohammada Hassan Khani, from Islamic Azad University in Teheran, during a conference at Łódź University, 7th of November 2014). At the same time, from the Iraqi prisons were released people who were supposed to be charged for political reasons. The problem was that most of the documents were destroyed during the military operation or burned by the security forces just before coalition forces entrance into the Baghdad in 2003. The new authorities didn’t always try enough to research the background of the candidates for the key positions in the country. Because of that, such people like Khalil Jalil Hanza, were put into positions of power (governor of the Al-Qadisiyah province). This man was travelling often to Iran for instructions and he led anti-Sunni politics. He was also fighting other Shia groups. All of that was very well known to Coalition Forces intelligence but they usually couldn’t do anything about it without complete control of the border. Under such conditions, the transfer of money for projects aimed in the rebuilding of Iraqi infrastructure, in fact ended up in hands of governor. He used it to enforce his position in fighting against other “war-lords” or increased his private fortune. When Coalition Force commanders decided to bypass the Divaniyah governor and to transfer the money for the heads of the main families, Hanza accused Polish or Bulgarian officers of direct support for terrorism. I experienced that myself, during one of the meetings with him in Camp Delta, south of Diwaniyah, when he accused Bulgarian Brigade Deputy Commander for support of terrorism. During the negotiations I was responsible for interpreting into polish language, and in some point he directed his accusation against me too, blaming me for lying and cheating in the translations.
Fights were evolving between all other breakdowns: Shia-Sunni, Shia-Kurds, and as most powerful, Shiites fought against other Shiite groups too. Shia Iraqis who lived in Iran and fought against Iraq in Iraq-Iran war (1980-1988), constituted the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq on exile. This body was created with use of the example of Iranian highest authority. The aim was to be prepared to rule the future Iraq. The moment for that came in 2003 just after invasion. This council was a basis for the Badr organization. Badr squads supported Nouri Al-Maliki’s government of in 2006. They also formed the religious militia, which was accused by the Kurds and Sunnis of being persecution of all other groups in Iraq. On the Iraqi side, the group of Iranian Shiites had it’s base, under Saddam Hussain’s supervision. They were also refugees, and fought on the Iraqi side in the Iraq-Iran war (1980-88). Those people – Mujahedin Al-Khalq, living in Camp Asharaf in eastern Iraq, were especially hated by the Iranian authorities. After 2003 another strong group of Shia fought against other Shia groups. It was Sadri organization (commanded by Muqtada Al-Sadr) and it was very well known to polish troops because of the Karbala battle.
Kurds, who had homogeneous community in the northern and north-eastern Iraq, strived for autonomy. But at the same time, Kurds were divided into many political parties, sub-cultural groups and have also different political aims. Seeing the growing chaos and violence in the other parts of the country, they distanced themselves as much as they could from the central government. Kurdish actions aimed in the separation from the Iraq provoked Iraqi Shia authorities. Also Turkey did not perceived Kurdish actions as a positive step. Their situation changed only after the Islamic State came to life in Iraq, when many international actors supported Kurds openly. Kurdish struggle against so called Islamic State, brought them US diplomatic support and shortly military equipment assistance. US started bombardment of IS positions which was coordinated with Kurdish fighters. Kurdish state in Iraq and north-east Syria is now as strong as never before and it seems that it is permanent situation.
After withdrawing of the US troops from Iraq in 2011, Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki and his Shia Militia, wanted to prevent Sunnis from creation another separate state. The aim was to keep the control of what left from the country, but also to keep total power of Shia over other groups. Shia militia was very brutal, made raids on the villages inhabited by Sunnis, killing or abducting the people.The Shia were now in all the positions of power and the Sunni found themselves deprived of any political representation in Baghdad, or banned from taking any key positions in the Iraqi army, police or any other key service. This marginalization ultimately led to disaster.

Situation in Syria and Libya
In 2011 in Syria, rebellion exploded; an effect of the Arab Spring , it was brutally pacified by the forces of Bashar Al-Assad . Such pacification was not unique in the region. On the same wave of the “Arab Spring”, people in Bahrain or Yemen were in a state of revolt and were killed in the same way as in Syria. Syria was – and still is – the ally of Iran, supporting both Hezbollah and Hamas, both of which are threatening Israel. The support of Hamas by Iran and Syria was (and still is) a cynical game, because Hamas is closely connected to the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology which is at another pole of the divisions in the Middle East. The only reason for Iran’s support for Hamas is just having the basis and people who can help them to threaten Israel: Palestinians are the ultimate victims of those games which are played by the strongest in the region, which is another tragedy . All those circumstances drew the attention of the western world against Bashar Al-Assad; The West accused the president of Syria of being a cruel and brutal dictator and supported the rebellion. The FSA was prepared, trained and armed in southern Turkey or later in northern Syria by the French and US (inter alia) military advisers. The problem, which at the very beginning was hushed up in the western media, was that in the ranks the rebel forces, more and more Al-Qaeda fighters were appearing. Those well prepared, experienced and armed people, of the same faith and most often aims, were warmly welcomed by the rebellion’s leaders. In June 10, 2013, Abdel Basset Al-Tawil, commander of the northern front of the FSA, admitted in an interview in Al-Jazeera that he cooperated with Al-Nusra and his aim is to build together with them a state based on Islamic rules (Syria: searching for the “lesser evil” in: https://mmilczanowski.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/syria-government-rebels-extremists/). He mentioned that Sharia law is not a problem for them and that they agree with Al-Nusra in matters of ideology. If we add that support of the Sunni rebellion in Syria was also very much in the interest of the Gulf Countries (especially Qatar and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), itt shows why the FSA and Al-Nusra were so strong.
In the Spring of 2011, Muamar Qadafi in Libya was murdered after another rebellion – also caused by the Arab Spring, and evolving similarly as in Syria. The “rebellion” in was in fact the least typical of the any other “revolution” in the region. It was not the result of a mass movement as in Egypt or Tunesia, but rather clans – unhappy that their rival Qadafi ruling for so long. They persuaded French president Nicolas Sarkozy, with the large role of journalist Bernard-Henri Levy, that they had prepared a national unity government and that they would form a “model country” in post-Qadafi Libya (The shocking report of the circumstances of the revolt in Lybia, is well written by the Steven Erlanger: By His Own Reckoning, One Man Made Libya a French Cause, The New York Times, April 1, 2011). For France and for the new US President Barack Obama, it seemed to be a great opportunity to show a much better model of political transformation in the Middle East than the model George W. Bush presented. They had the support of the Arab League, African Union, and most importantly – of the UN. For both countries, such a victory over a “bad dictator” seemed very beneficial in terms of their internal and international policy: Of course, oil was also important cause of action.
The of the Western decisions was the removal of the Qaddafi clan from power and another cauldron of chaos in the region. What could, and should have been foreseen, is that rival clans and extremists from the southwest – such as Al-Qaeda of the Maghreb – were most happy to remove the Libyan leader. For them, it was the dreamed-of situation to strengthen their position. Disaster in that country also caused more problems for Iraq, because huge arsenals of weapons were emptied very soon after regime collapse. Those arms were spread to all extremists in the region but a large part was transported through the Sahara Desert, underneath tunnels to Gaza and further to northern Syria. It was mean to supply Syrian rebels fighting Assad, but in fact, it fell into the hands of Al-Nusra. This gave this Al-Qaeda branch another impulse to take the lead not only in the fight against Assad, but also for something much more. Finally, a large group of Al-Nusra members, some parts of the FSA and the most radical people coming there from all over the world ultimately formed the new group calling themselves Islamic State. The idea was to join all the territories in the north of Syria inhabited by the Sunni people, topple the Assad regime and create a nation- state throughout Syria and cross the border to connect with the Iraqi Sunnis, who were in a desperate position defending themselves against the Shia militia (which hasn’t changed, even in face of the IS threat : Iran’s Shiite Militias Are Running Amok in Iraq 21 February 2015, http://www.irannewsupdate.com/news/terrorism/1950-iran-s-shiite-militias-are-running-amok-in-iraq.html). That IS growth and giving up the illusions of being “good rebels” fighting against Assad, caused the USA to commence air operations against Syria and stop supplying the FSA with arms. Abandoning the FSA made IS the only force in that area. When IS grew into real importance, their actions became much better prepared and they began a wave of of unprecedented brutality in order to threaten people in the region and to make it attractive to mercenaries or extremists who would like to join. The US government seemed confused and sent ambivalent signals; sometimes cooperation with Iran or Assad against IS, sometimes urging for the removal of the Syrian regime. Unfortunately it wasn’t the effect of the flexibility of US actions, but rather a lack of the strategy. During the same time, France, so active in 2011 in toppling Qadafi and supporting o the FSA, under new president Francois Hollande stayed quiet and otherwise preoccupied. Levy was giving interviews of how greatly democracy is burgeoning in Lybia (Mehdi Hasan interview: Meddling in other people’s business? Head to Head, Al-Jazeera, 08 Jun 2013 http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/headtohead/2013/06/2013661301564183.html) – in exactly the same way as a few years earlier, Thomas Friedman wrote in Newsweek that Iraq was becoming a model democracy (Thomas L. Friedman. 2005. “A Day to Remember.” New York Times. 154(53114): A27; Thomas L. Friedman. 2004. “Iraq, Ballots and Pistachios.” New York Times. 154(53061): 13). Propaganda is not so easy to spread in democracies. In both cases, the facts showed how cynical those most famous of journalists were.

IS in Iraq
The so-called Islamic State, using the chaos and very difficult position of the Iraqi Sunni, entered the Iraq. Many Iraqi Sunnis, having the choice of an unpredictable and totally hostile Shia militia or the brutal but at least Sunni Islamic State, chose the latter. According to Ahmed, with whom I’ve met in Turkey earlier this year, (Ahmed wanted to stay anonymous, which is understandable as he lives in Turkey with its complicated geopolitical situation between the Kurds and IS right now) after entering a village, IS kills all the soldiers and policemen and establishes establishes very hard conditions for living. But the villagers know that they will survive. Moreover, if they do not serve in the military or police and simply obey the new rules, they will have some safety, food and water, the basic levels of Maslov’s Pyramid. For many of those people, it is deliverance after oppressive Shia oppressions; they also have now a chance for their own country. Even if it’s brutal right now, they have the hope that after the country entrenches oneself, it will become easier with the rules and conditions of living.
In the same time, US policy in the region, was so ambiguous that all sides accuse them of supporting of the others. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Sunnis from Iraq claimed that USA and EU supports Iranian authorities to get a nuclear deal. From the other side, Ayatollah’s regime, Bashar Al-Assad and many Egyptians accuse US of supporting IS and Al-Qaeda. They claim that wars and chaos in the region are useful for US leadership. Paradox of this situation is, that both sides are partially right. Both Presidents of the USA of this period (2003-2013) improved the situation of Iran, causing it’s advantage over Iraq. George W. Bush, broke the balance of power between those countries. Barack Obama on his turn, striving for the nuclear deal with Iran, to prove his leadership and soft power abilities. By such actions President Obama allow Iran to spread it’s influences in the region and dominate the Iraq, support Shia in Yemen, Bahrain, enforce Syria regime. On the other hand, it can’t be denied, that US and France supplied FSA in Syria which helped a lot Al-Nusrah and IS. Even if it was not their intention, it does not take out the blame off them.
As a result, we have seen the development of the so- called Islamic Statewhich has strong social support and political justification, even if the West does not want to realize that. Of course, there is no justification for the terrorist methods used by IS. They are disgusting and are not a result of any religion, but rather a radical ideology, being the convergence of misinterpreted and cherry-picked fragments of the Qur’an and tendentious assorted Hadiths of dubious veracity, or sometimes simply propaganda slogans. The IS concept is far closer to fascism, which is also called Islamism or Islamo-fascism; it is, in any event, a totalitarian ideology. The tragedy of the situation is that such a radical ideology is now considered deliverance from 12 years of humiliation, threats, persecution and chaos for the Sunnis of Iraq. Sunnis have been deprived of their country, pushed into the margins of social life, banned from any political life, and later , armed with weapons from Libya or using the funds of Al-Qaeda, Qatar, KSA and others. The rest was made by the extremists from Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra and IS.

Conclusions
In the present situation, there is no other way but to divide Iraq. The Kurds have defined borders and if nothing new happens, they will stay with it. And it is the most optimistic version of their policy. Many Kurds (especially those from abroad) claims that those small pieces of Kurdistan in northern Iraq and small scraps in Syria are far from enough: Their aim is to unite all Kurdish territories. And again, all those who support the Kurds fail to comprehend that it may well lead to another great war with Iran and Turkey or to continuous acts of terror in their territories. In the case of Iraq, even more imminent is the struggle between Shia and Sunnis. Any peaceful process of deciding where the line of division between Sunni North and Shia South could run is very difficult to imagine. Such a division without international arbitrage (which again is very difficult to imagine) means yet another war or series of wars. My friend Ahmed from Iraq (during our discussion in Turkey), said that even the south from Al-Hillah the territories fully belong to Sunni. On the other hand, the Shia will never let go from the line of north of Baghdad. It meand that discrepancy between the two is a belt of the most higly- developed and historical part of Iraq some 100 km wide: Between them is the ancient Babylon and many sacred places of both religious groups, which will serve as a cause for fresh wars for many years to come. Any attempt at international involvement – especially from the West – will be received as the a Sykes-Picot agreement, which even in the West, is now seen as the root of all of the troubles. The war between Shia and Sunni will be a casus belli for Turkey to intervene to protect the Sunni people and to limit the Kurds powers.
We always have to find some (even most academic) solution for the situation; in 2003 there were many possibilities on the table. from 2003 to 2008, the situation got much worse but still there were some possibilities of building a National Unity Government. Even in 2011, there were still some chances for a lesser evil which could stabilize the rest of the country south from Kurdistan. After that moment, when IS became the only alternative for the Sunni, the situation became even much more difficult. In summer of 2014, President Obama admitted that he has no strategy for IS. It means that the US administration is not able to start any coordinated and well prepared actions in case of IS seizing the area: All this happened despite the numerous think-tanks, advisers with the best knowledge and representation of all the Iraqi groups who could be summoned in Washington DC to find best solution. One thing is perfectly sure and the US administration should face it; there is no universal solution (like democracy in 2003, withdrawal and hope that it will be better in 2011, or bombing IS in 2014 and 2015). It is impossible to point out any single approach or action, and even a complex strategy is very difficult to succeed in Iraq. But even in such conditions, a comprehensive strategy is needed for Iraq very soon: A strategy which is not concentrated just on US interests or interests of the actors in the region, but on a quick cease fire and establishing a peace process with a two (Kurdistan – Iraq) or three (Kurdistan – Sunni part – Shia part) state solution. Such a solution would have to be worked out by talks which need to be led by the US and include Turkey, Iran, the Gulf States and Israel. But it has to be concentrated on Iraqis and their situation not on carving-up the oil-pie. I know how controversial it is for many to place these actors in these hypothetical talks, but a proxy war leads to a situation where without the withdrawal of outside actors funds or forces, improvement is impossible. As an answer to the question in the title, IS is the result of the Iraqi drama and dealing with just the results is pointless. The cause of the grim drama playing out day after day is a proxy war in Iraq where Iran, with use of its deadly militias, fights the Sunni and their deadly proxies, IS or Al-Qaeda. Both sides use extreme methods and the Iraqis are the just a tools and victims in these political wars for influence, oil, money and power. Only way of stabilizing the situation with respecting the rights of the each group inside Iraq is the real power in Iraqi government which is eager to build consensus or division of Iraq into three parts.

Map from the page: https://thesinosaudiblog.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/mid-east-religion.jpg