It was back in April when Maliki sent troops to remove the peaceful demonstrators from Hawija’s protest-tent-encampment. 50 died and scores were injured. “Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whom HRW [Human Rights Watch] held responsible for the Hawija incident . . . told Al-Hayat that “if such demonstrations happened in any other Arab country, they would have been bombed by aircraft!”
When Maliki came to the U.S. in November to ask for American help with al-Qaeda he was publicly rebuffed. The Obama administration said they were receptive to intelligence-sharing, but not to military aid. But the public is not the private, and recent shipments of Hellfire missiles belie the earlier posture.
When the U.S. withdrew from Iraq it delivered over $1.5 billion dollars for anti-terrorist purposes. From 2009-2012 it has delivered over $5.5 billion in similar funding. Maliki used most of these funds to form a private army. Instead of focusing on combatting terrorism the military mostly concerned itself with suppressing his political opposition. Now we are giving Maliki the short cut of direct arms and drone shipments.
Sunni discontent is rising. The al-Qaeda activity in Iraq is undeniable, but Maliki’s response is heavy-handed and doomed to failure. The Shiite leaning government uses indiscriminate roundups of young Sunnis and violent responses to peaceful demonstrations. As government violence grows, so does Sunni unhappiness. There will be more demonstrations and Maliki can be expected to respond with more violence, and more innocent civilians will suffer. American weaponry can only add to the sadness that is to come.
December 31, 2013 by Bruce Wallace, 121Contact