Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi is credited with having succeeded in wresting control of most of his country’s territory from ISIS hands; now the attack on the terrorist organization’s last foothold in the north of the country, bordering Syria, is taking place in Al Qaim and Rawa, in the Euphrates River valley.
Soldiers, Sunni tribesmen, and Shiite paramilitary fighters and police, are taking part in this assault on the militants who were told by Abadi that they had to “choose between death and surrender”.
The military successes in Iraq are due in part to US weaponry and direct U.S.-led military coalition intervention on some fronts.
Iran-backed militias also played a pivotal role in bringing ISIS' occupation of large swathes of Iraq to an end.
But when the country will have flushed out all terrorists, the challenging task of reconstruction will have to be carried out by Baghdad.
Even more formidable will be the effort to re-establish the unity of the Iraqi population, now deeply divided along sectarian lines, scarred and distrustful.
No military success will be worth much if the country’s policy does not work to heal the wounds and bring people together in an inclusive, democratic system of governance.
The problems are old and the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, using the big, long debunked, lie that Iraq under Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, can take the infamous credit for opening Pandora’s box. Washington’s misguided decisions have had terrible repercussions, and the Sunni-Shiite divide is one such ugly outcome that will be difficult to mend.
Reconciliation with the Kurds in the north is now at the forefront of domestic issues that await resolution.
Winning the battle against the Kurdistan Regional Government’s decision to secede from Iraq could be the easy part; winning the trust and collaboration of all ethnic groups will be harder, if at all possible.
Once ISIS' is out of the picture, Abadi will have a lot on his plate. His just-concluded trips to several capitals in the region to explain his government’s stance on the issue of war and peace, and to win their support and understanding is proof that he is aware of the daunting task ahead, but also willing to tackle it.
Iraq, a country others used to look up to, is in shambles. Its people should reach reconciliation and work towards putting it right again.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Al Bawaba. This article has been adapted from its original source.
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