Jun 17 2014

The 2003 US War and the Roots of Violent Sectarianism in Iraq

The US has sent 275 military personnel to Baghdad and several warships to the Persian Gulf, and says it is ready to deploy drones to fend off gains by the militant Sunni group calling itself the Islamic State in Iraq and the Syria (ISIS). In recent days, the group has captured the Iraqi cities of Mosul, Tikrit, Fallujah, Tal Afar and the country’s main oil refinery has been shut down.

ISIS chilled the international community by releasing photos and claiming responsibility for the slaughter of 1700 people they blamed for killing one of their commanders. The photos showed dozens of men in civilian clothes, bound and in a ditch being fired on by automatic weapons. Meanwhile the first reports of retaliatory killing of dozens of Sunni prisoners by Shiite militias are coming in.

Kurds in the north and Shiite militia in other parts of Iraq have filled the power vacuum left as the Iraqi army fled from the ISIS onslaught. The stage is set for further regional conflict as ISIS has funneled heavy arms and tanks they’ve captured in Iraq to reconstitute their war effort against President Bashar Al Assad in neighboring Syria.

GUEST: Phyllis Bennis, directs the New Internationalism Project at Institute for Policy Studies. She is also a fellow of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam. She has been a writer, analyst, and activist on Middle East and UN issues for many years. She has written a number of books including Ending the Iraq War, Understanding the US-Iran Crisis, and Ending the US War in Afghanistan

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