Why Iraq is doomed
Shiite militiamen burst into a Sunni mosque yesterday and sprayed automatic gunfire into the crowd. At least 70 Sunnis were killed and dozens wounded.
In response, the Sunni bloc has pulled out of talks to form a government:
Sunni lawmakers quit talks on forming a new Iraqi government after gunmen killed scores of worshipers at a Sunni mosque in a province neighboring Baghdad, sending sectarian tensions soaring.
The discussions in Baghdad sought to build an administration representing Iraq’s religious and ethnic groups after years of Shiite dominance, with a goal of sapping support among some Sunnis for Islamist State extremists who have seized swaths of the country’s north.
While Kurdish and Iraqi forces backed by U.S. airstrikes have regained some territory lost to the jihadists, President Barack Obama has made more extensive U.S. military aid conditional on creation of such an “inclusive” central government in Baghdad.
Basem al-Samarraei, deputy governor of Diyala province, said the mosque attack in the village of Bani Wais that killed at least 73 people was carried out by members of a Shiite militia after a gathering of Shiites was targeted by roadside bombs.
The casualties at the mosque included the local imam, women and children who were killed as they tried to save relatives from the gunfire, eyewitness Mahmoud al-Shimmary said in a telephone interview.
Hours later, Sunni politicians withdrew from the talks with Shiite Prime Minister-designate Haidar al-Abadi, lawmaker Talal al-Zuba’ay said by phone, in a major blow to reconciliation efforts. He said security forces had barred rescue teams attempting to reach the mosque.
“These Shiite militias are massing across the country and killing people based on their identity,” Zuba’ay said. “What is happening will create a volcano that once it explodes, no one will be able to stop.”
When IS was rampaging across Iraq with little resistance from the army, Shiite leaders called for a volunteer army to defend their holy sites in the south. More than 200,000 Iraqi Shiites answered the call. They haven't done much in the field against IS, but they have certainly made their mark against unarmed Sunnis.
The Kurds are defending their homeland, but given the political stalemate in Baghdad, you have to wonder if they will fight IS to save Iraq. Supporting the government hasn't done the Sunnis any good. The Kurds may retire behind their defensive lines and leave Baghdad to its own devices - both militarily and politically.