Who is responsible for the sectarian violence in Iraq?

June 7th, 2013

Published on OpenDemocracy. These developments in Syria, with the involvement of Iraqis, have intensified and widened the divisions among Iraqis themselves.  

All the signs are that Iraq is heading towards a sectarian war reviving the memories of the civil war of 2006-07, unless there is containment of the political crisis by the major political powers.

Iraq entered a relatively stable period between 2006 and 2008 after the sectarian violence or the ‘civil war’ subsided between the various competing factions, mainly the Arab Shias and the Sunnis. The attempts of the US to control this violence by supporting the tribal Al-Sahwa movement (Arabic: ‘Awakening’), also known as the ‘Sons of Iraq’, contributed substantially to declining insurgency in the Anbar province as well as the Sunni regions. The US had earlier promoted the ‘Sons of Iraq’ to fight against Al-Qaeda as well. Meanwhile, in 2008, the Maliki government ordered a major raid on theMuqtada Al-Sadr militia’s ‘Mehdi Army’ which had for a period of time, fought against the US-led forces.

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