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UPDATED: June 24, 2014 NO. 26 JUNE 26, 2014
The Iraqi Redemption
Terror, violence and sectarianism are dragging Iraq into a civil war in the post-U.S. era
By Ding Ying

The forces that make up the ISIL used to be part of the Syrian opposition. Washington's policy of striking Syria's Bashar al-Assad administration helped the ISIL develop in Syria. "By cultivating the Syrian opposition, including the ISIL, Washington finally has to swallow its bitter concoction," said Li.

Iraq's future

The crisis in Iraq surely will not be resolved easily. Although the international community has been keeping an eye on the Iraqi situation, no country will voluntarily help Washington clean up the mess that it created. In any case, Iraq cannot resume peace and stability, even under U.S. sanctuary, until it sorts out its sectarian divisions.

Saudi Arabia rejected foreign intervention in Iraq's domestic affairs on June 14, sensing a worsening security situation. The Sunni-dominated country blamed the Maliki administration's "sectarian and exclusionary policies" for fuelling the insurgency.

While Turkey is sending humanitarian aid to the violence-hit cities of Iraq, particularly to the areas populated by Iraqi Turkmens, who share close cultural and linguistic ties with Turkey, Jordan's army has been on high alert to protect the country from being infected.

China affirmed that it supports the Iraqi Government's efforts to safeguard national security and stability and combat terrorism, said Hua Chunying, spokeswoman of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on June 17.

There are currently more than 10,000 Chinese employees working in Iraq, most of whom are concentrated in relatively safe areas. The spokeswoman said that China will continue to monitor closely the situation in Iraq, and depending on how the situation evolves, take all necessary measures to safeguard the security of Chinese citizens in Iraq. The Chinese side has long been providing a variety of assistance to Iraq, she added, and China will continue to do so as its capacity allows.

The United States declared that it would not send ground troops to Iraq, but dispatched a carrier and destroyers to the Gulf region on standby.

Meanwhile, the White House began its deployment of up to 275 U.S. soldiers in Baghdad on June 13 "to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad," according to Obama.

"The Obama administration has adopted a contraction strategy in the Middle East, including Iraq and Syria, so as to focus on the 'pivot-to-Asia' strategy," said Liu with the CASS. "It will not put its heels back into the same swamp it just fled from."

Liu predicted that Washington would rather let others, like NATO, head the possible war against Iraqi rebels. Besides, she added, the Maliki administration still is capable of fighting back. However, if the situation slides out of control, Washington will not simply leave Iraq alone, because the country remains under U.S. influence, said Liu.

The crisis has even brought Washington and its foe Tehran together to discuss ways to stop the violence on the sidelines of nuclear negotiations in Vienna, Austria, on June 14, due to their common support for the Shiite-dominated Maliki administration. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States was "open to any constructive process."

Liu said that for now, Iran is the one that is more eager to facilitate such military cooperation, and Washington will not accept the suggestion until the last minute. Once Washington decides to join hands with Iran, it must adjust its policy on Iran's nuclear issue, Liu explained.

Former Chinese Ambassador to Iran Hua Liming pointed out that the United States is now reaping what it sowed, forcing Washington to adjust related policies—especially concerning Iran. The former ambassador said that the United States must cooperate with Iran if it wants to discuss the future of Iraq. Moreover, it needs Iran's support in solving problems in Syria and Afghanistan.

Undoubtedly, the terrible situation has brought serious economic problems in addition to mass casualties in Iraq. According to a UN report, 9,475 civilians were killed in violent attacks last year, hitting a record in the post-Saddam era. In the first six months of 2014, over 500,000 Iraqis became homeless due to the anti-government military confrontation.

Liu pointed out that the turmoil has greatly impacted Iraq's backbone oil industry, as well as foreign investment. International oil prices increased over 4 percent in early June due to the recent crisis. Economists predicted that Iraq's oil production volume from the second quarter of 2014 to the fourth quarter in 2016 will drop to its level in 2003, which will be bad news for both Iraq's economic situation and the international oil supply.

The final redemption can only be created by Iraqis. Even if the United States dispatches Air Force and bombs rebel bases, it cannot eliminate terrorists and anti-government forces. Instead, Iraq's situation might become even more complicated, said Liu. She pointed out that only a wise and influential leader, like South Africa's Nelson Mandela, can put the sectarian rift aside and set up a real united government to realize peace and stability. Liu stressed, "Iraqis must understand that sectarian interests should never be beyond national interests."

Email us at: dingying@bjreview.com

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