A Question to Answer – Iraq a Falling State?

by Marian Fritz

The State of Iraq is thrown in turmoil and the situation is highly dangerous for the security situation of the region and the entire world. After the international forces, under the leadership of the United States, and their coalition of the willing left Iraq the security situation of Iraq collapsed because there was no powerful, centralized government in Bagdad.

The forces of “the West” entered Iraq without knowing the regional characteristics of the country and tried to establish a Democracy like in the States of the “West”. While doing that they underestimated the power of the Tribalism. Because of this Tribalism many people will not accept any centralized government in Bagdad. This non-acceptance of the government is a reason why there was never an efficient security system which promoted the rise of terrorist organization like Al-Qaida. Another reason for the weak security system of Iraq are the neighboring countries: Syria, Saudi-Arabia and Iran.

Terrorist organizations are said to be supported with weapons and money by Saudi Arabia while the terrorists are using Syria as a safe harbor, because of the lack of centralized security due to the ongoing civil war.

Over the last years there was in particular one terroristic organization stronger and wealthier than most others: the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). ISIS is led by Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri, who extended their activities from Iraq to Syria.

The ISIS declared openly war on the government in Bagdad and even seized whole regions in Iraq.  In these regions they seized ammunition depots, banks (approx. $480m) and heavy military equipment e.g. missiles, tanks and machine guns (worth approx. $1,5b). With this equipment they seized the city of Mosul and are holding the staff of the Turkish diplomat service in captivity.  On Monday, forces of the ISIS seized the city of Tal Afar, close to the Syrian border, which makes it easier for them to enforce their troops and move equipment to Syria unseen.

How powerful and feared ISIS is can be seen in the fact that two divisions of the Iraqi army fled instead of fighting them. Right now they are moving towards Bagdad and it is the inhabitants of the city who are preparing to defend their city against the ISIS and not the army.

A few days ago the ISIS posted a picture of a mass execution of approximately 170 Iraqi soldiers via twitter to show their opponents that they don’t have mercy for their enemies. The picture was already declared authentic by the chief military spokesman Lieutenant-General Quassim al-Moussawi of the Iraqi Army. The international community was deeply shocked by these happenings and called to stop ISIS but until now most of the members of the international community haven’t taken any action. There are some reports that Iran has sent some of their elite-forces to assist the government in Bagdad to reclaim their land and fight back ISIS, but there is no official press release of the government in Tehran to confirm these reports.

The next few weeks will show if the Iraqi government can manage to fight ISIS even though the terrorists are in part supported by certain segments of the Iraqi population. At the moment, Iraq is a failing state which makes it very difficult to stop this development.

Please note that the views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Munich European Forum e.V.

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