In a previous article I explained on the formation and rise of ISIS thanks to the Quds Force and policies adopted by former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. In this text I want to evaluate the solutions on how to confront ISIS.
Iran believes the environment that ISIS thrives on relies on Sunni grounds, and therefore ISIS and anything resembling ISIS is inevitable in Sunni areas. The solution presented by the Quds Force and Iran against ISIS is to use a force similar to ISIS, and even more vicious and criminal than ISIS, called the Shiite militants. This is the exact solution they are executing these days in Iraq and Syria. Iran’s plan is to use these militants to conquer ISIS-controlled areas, and turn the city, town or village into rubbles to no longer allow Sunnis to live there and force them to migrate.
In Iraq’s Diyala Province – strategically important due to its melting pot characteristics and bordering Iran – with more than 50% of the locals being Sunni and 30% being Shiite, is currently facing an ethnic cleansing at the hands of Iran-backed militant groups. These insurgents in this province are roaming freely, and with the support of the army and police who are all Shiite, they are seen abducting various individuals and launching killing sprees in various cities and villages across Diyala in broad daylight. This has left no area safe for the Sunnis and they are forced to seek refuge in neighboring Kurdistan. The circumstances have reached the point that Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri called on Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to provide security for Diyala residents.
Another solution is also provided by Sunni and patriotic politicians in Iraq, which actually enjoys America’s support. They believe to destroy ISIS the locals in Sunni provinces must be armed and geared for this seemingly daunt task, and involving Shiite militants – who are only seeking revenge – in Sunni provinces will actually lead to the rise of ISIS in these areas. In this regard the US has started training the tribes of al-Anbar Province in two bases located in Habaniya and Ein al-Asad. However, to this day there have been no serious progress made in this regard and after Salahaddin Province to the north it is al-Anbar Province that is witnessing how Iran’s solution is being implemented. Iran is completely against the idea of arming and training Sunni tribes, claiming these forces will be made into an army against Shiite militants.
Iran’s Quds Force and associated Shiite militants are the main obstacle in the path of pursuing this plan that has been presented by former military commanders who have served in Iraq, including General David Petraeus and General Ray Odierno.
- In Iraq the fight against ISIS is currently in a state of limbo. On one hand Iran is attempting to resort to its own ‘Bassij’ paramilitary and ‘human waves’ tactics used in the 1980s Iran-Iraq War, which has failed miserably. On the other hand, we have the US that is seeking to pursue the war against ISIS by training and arming Sunni tribes while Iran is acting as the main road-block in this regard. Unfortunately, in the middle of all this Washington doesn’t want to take out the checkbook and pay any price, and take back the Iraq that it presented to Iran in a silver plate.