While Iraqi forces are fighting to retake the western half of Mosul from Islamic State fighters, internal divisions regarding the future of Iraq’s political process are escalating ahead of provincial elections scheduled for September, especially within the country’s largest Shiite political bloc, the Shiite National Alliance.
Iraqi militias, especially those with ties to Iran, in the Popular Mobilization Force units are a potential weapon to use bullets and not ballots to determine the future of the political process.
As I saw it, keeping American combat troops in Iraq after 2011 would have had one mission of reassuring Iraqis that nobody could afford to resort to violence to settle political divisions without running into American troops--who would kill them.
So retiring the militias or regulating them enough to defang them as Iranian tools would help a lot.
Further, arresting and charging that Iranian hand puppet and all-around walking piece of breathing garbage and three-time insurrectionist Moqtada al-Sadr before he can wreck Iraq would help. Sadr needs to rot in prison or die for his crimes.
And this political maneuvering is why I want Iraq to remain a single state, even if the center is weakened. I want the Kurds and Sunni Arabs to be additional factions within Iraq to help counter the pro-Iran elements of the Shia factions.
The pro-Iran elements are a minority of Iraqi Shias, but as Saddam proved, even a minority with the guns can run a country. So I'd really like the pro-Iran Shias to be heavily outnumbered.
The participation of the Kurds and Arab Sunnis as allies of Shias will also help normalize these parts of Iraqi society to the Shia majority and help them use politics and not weapons to negotiate for resources.
Also, I seriously worry how long Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani will live. He is old and a calming influence on the Shia. When he passes, I assume Sadr will try to take his place as the leading Shia within Iraq.
Still, the political divisions are encouraging. It may not look pretty, but as America endures a losing faction continuing to reject the outcome of our last election and taking to the streets with so-far minor levels of violence--with some of them even hoping for a military coup, for Pete's sake--can we really say that the Iraqis aren't learning the ropes?
Iraq has voting. We have to help them remove the threat of violence to influence or override voting. And we have to help Iraqis develop rule of law by combating corruption.
Do those things in the next Iraq War which with our participation will be a peacetime struggle, and Iraq will get an actual democracy.
We won't abandon Iraq again after ISIL is dispersed and Iraqi authority is restored, will we?