It’s a free for all in Baghdad as the Sunni Rebels targeted the Shiite-led government of Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and seiged control of the capital, triggering Shiite Iran in the neighbourhood to forge its army ahead in the border.
In a rare resurgence of revolt to the current government since the U.S. withdrawal at the end of 2011, Iraq has been pushed once again to the brink of civil war with the likelihood of the nation getting divided into three clusters each dominated by the Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish militias.
The capital seige has prompted fighters from the other militant groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to rush to Baghdad with help from former ruler Saddam Hussein’s loyalists and other Sunnis.
In a deja-vu of the Afghan stint post-9/11 attacks, Iraq government after Saddam Hussein remained too weak to defend in view of the strong Sunni-centric hatred in the country after the US withdrawal. The period also served as grooming time for the anti-Shiite regime in Iraq that exploded once the foreign hand is out.
On Thursday night, Sunni rebels moved into two towns — Saadiyah and Jalawla — in the eastern province of Diyala, prompting US President Barack Obama say military strikes would be resumed to halt the rebels’ forward movement in the capital.
Meanwhile, the Kurds, who are on their own with an autonomous region in the north, have quickly moved to expand their territory, taking control of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and other areas outside their boundary, reflecting the age-old Arabian Nights story.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi army in Muqdadiya fired artillery at seiged towns of Saadiya and Jalawla sending many families in these towns run for shelter elsewhere.
The border town of Khaniqin near the Iranian border is witnessing huge exodus, say initial reports, which have promted Iran to rush its soldiers to the border.
US President Obama said, “I don’t rule out anything because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria.”
US had all along hoped that Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki would placate the warring groups but said the Shiaite government had failed to do enough to heal a sectarian rift when U.S. troops overthrew Saddam Hussein in 2003.
“This should be also a wakeup call for the Iraqi government. There has to be a political component to this,” Obama said.