Iraq continues to sink into greater confusion and terror
The situation in Iraq becomes more confused almost by the hour both on the political scene and in the ongoing war in the north and west of the country.
Over the weekend the Americans decided to intervene as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) (they are also known as ISIL and IS) forces attacked Yazidi Kurds fleeing onto Mount Sinjar. Around 150,000 civilians are believed to have fled three towns pursued by ISIL and many more left behind are believed to have been killed in a series of atrocities. Seeing a humanitarian disaster unfolding the Americans and other Western countries have decided to provide aid for the refugees and the US has bombed the attacking ISIL forces.
This significantly increases the involvement of America and the West and reports suggest that the use of fighter bombers and armed drones has been widened to support Kurdish Peshmerga forces. The Peshmerga had lost a number of towns but are now said to be making gains once more with the support of the American air cover.
In Baghdad the political squabbles continue. At midnight on Sunday Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki reached a deadline by which he was supposed to have formed a new government if he was able to do so. It seems he failed, but still determined to hold on to power and still seeking a third term in office he went onto television and stated that he would be taking the President to court.
Al-Maliki claims that President Fouad Massoum is in breach of the constitution by failing to ask a Prime Minister designate from the largest grouping to form a new government. Al-Maliki heads the State of Law coalition, but it is exactly that, a coalition of parties, a number of whom no longer support the prime minister in his bid for a third term in office.
American Secretary of State John Kerry has also become embroiled in the controversy, saying “We stand absolutely squarely behind President Massoum (who) has the responsibility for upholding the constitution of Iraq.” A number of other countries are also pressing for Al-Maliki to back down.
A number of agencies reported that Al-Maliki had put troops loyal to him onto the streets of Baghdad last night. If so then the country could be heading towards a form of coup d’état which would, in turn, further complicate the political scene as the battles continue against ISIL.
On Monday morning senior US officials claimed the Obama administration had authorised the provision of weapons to the Kurdish Peshmerga. The move by the United States will help the fledgling Kurdish state in the north of Iraq to fight back ISIL in the short term but could aid and abet the autonomous region of Kurdistan from breaking away from Iraq in the medium term.