By Amer Araim, East Bay Times
Saturday, 7 May 2016
Since the United States invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Sunni Arab community in Iraq has been subjected to untold sufferings.
Our country, the United States, also has suffered due to loss of lives, tremendous financial burden and subsequent chaos, including the blunders of dissolving the Iraqi army, deepening ethnic and sectarian divisions there, and involving Iran in Iraq, which worsened that tragedy.
It was revealed recently by the former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq that the Bush administration and the Iranian government were negotiating the future of Iraq. It is known to every diplomat and student of international relations that Iran, whether under the Shah or the Ayatollahs, was and is still determined to expand in the Middle East and control the entire region.
Yes, Saddam Hussein and the majority of the members of his Arab Baath (renaissance) Party (ABP) were Sunni Arabs, but it was originally a secular party espousing democracy and respect for human rights.
The ABP, as did many parties in the region, involved the armed forces to bring about political change, but those experiments failed miserably.
As a result of dissolving the Iraqi army and the total control of the Iraqi government by the Shiite and the Kurdish political parties, the Sunni Arab communities began to suffer not only from deprivation but also ethnic and sectarian cleansing.
"It is known to every diplomat and student of international relations that Iran, whether under the Shah or the Ayatollahs, was and is still determined to expand in the Middle East and control the entire region."
The Kurds began to expand their areas and committed ethnic cleansing against the Arabs. Kirkuk, which is known for its oil, is now controlled by the Kurds. It was settled by Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen, and the Kurds were in minority but they took advantage of the American invasion to control it by force.
Since 2003, U.S. administrations have been opposed to settling these disputes by force and have been deeply concerned that ethnic and sectarian fighting in Iraq will help the terrorist groups there.
However, the Kurdish political parties are considered American trusted allies in Iraq; therefore, their atrocities are ignored.
Members of Arab communities in these disputed areas are forced to leave and neither the United States nor the United Nations is taking effective measures to help them. The Shiite-controlled government in Baghdad and its militias are also engaged in sectarian cleansing against Sunni Arabs to force them to leave or convert to Shiite, as was done in Iran in the past.
One of the major U.S. policy objectives in Iraq, and the world, is to defeat the terrorist groups al-Qaida and the so-called Islamic State (ISIS). Arab governments and peoples are supporting this objective. However, the Obama administration is not able to reconcile the fight against terrorism with the prevention of ethnic and sectarian conflicts in Iraq and other areas.
The U.S. intervention helped liberate areas controlled by terrorists in Iraq, however, the sectarian and ethnic cleansing against Arab communities that followed is used by terrorist propaganda to convince these communities that no one will protect them.
The Sunni Arab community in Iraq is having quadruple sufferings from the atrocities of ISIS; the Iraqi government and its militias including the support provided by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard; the Kurdish authorities and their militias; and the inability of the U.S. government to find a just and durable solution or to effectively engage the United Nations Security Council to find a solution, notwithstanding the mischievous role played by Russia in the council today.
The United Nations can contribute to finding such solution by persuasion or threats under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations. All our leaders particularly in their last year in office think how history will judge them. Unfortunately they have not succeeded in Iraq. The best advice to them to do what is right and history will record that with admiration.
Amer Araim is an adjunct professor of political science at Diablo Valley College. He is a former U.N. diplomat and a resident of Walnut Creek.