Days before Trump announced Syria withdrawal, a sinister report came out on IS in Iraq
Baghdad, Dec 20: A day before US President Donald Trump came up with a sudden claim of defeating the Islamic State (IS) and that being a reason for withdrawing troops from Syria, a report by Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, Washington said the revenge campaign carried out by Iraq's Shiite-dominated government against the Sunni Arabs in the regions that were once controlled by the IS is bolstering Islamists and could lead to another rebellion in the country.
In 2014, when the ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) or IS subsequently saw a sharp rise, it was largely because of the conviction among the Iraqi Sunnis that they were second-class citizens in Iraq which is dominated by the Shiites. The IS appealed to the Iraqi Sunnis as efficient and trustworthy which was in sharp contrast with the image of the politicians in Iraq who were perceived to be corrupt and inefficient (something similar had happened in Afghanistan with the Taliban as well). This saw the IS gaining popular support among Iraq's Sunni Arabs and it almost took over Baghdad in 2015.
The IS was later defeated by the government forces in Iraq subsequently but things look to be going back to square one now with the Shiite-dominated government and its agencies resorting to revenge campaign in areas that were once dominated by the IS, resulting in human rights violations against the Sunnis who they suspect as supporters of the terror outfit. This, as per the Pulitzer report, is giving impetus to the Islamist propaganda and a new wave of rebellion against the government in Baghdad.
The report has also said that the Iraqi government as of now is clueless on how to convince the country's Sunni Arabs who are upset. It said the revenge campaign in taking place throughout western Iraq, where "hundreds of thousands of civilians are suffering at the hands of their liberators".
The campaign has not only seen people, regardless of sex and age, perceived to have supported the IS previously are either killed or sent to concentration camps. People who haven't fled the IS are seen with suspicion and even men sporting beard are considered IS sympathisers. Most people are executed or imprisoned while only a few are held in court and even in those trials, the conviction rate is as high as 98 per cent.
It is "not uncommon for relatives [of accused ISIS supporters] to be rounded up by the security forces and sent to remote desert camps, where they are denied food, medical services, and access to documents", the report added.
The brutality is only encouraging Jihad since the Sunni Arabs are now convinced that they can not live safely under a Shitte-dominated government. This could soon snowball into yet another wave of terrorism which Trump thinks the West has defeated.