Sunday, 22 June 2014

The Iraq Crisis and Western Involvement

The current crisis in Iraq is being deemed by most as a result of the failures of western influence. The Sunni extremist group ISIS has pushed itself into Iraq from Syria. The sectarian group aims to topple the current Shia government and take over as the main regime in Iraq. Once ISIS began freeing people from prison, it allowed the group to maintain support by reuniting the prisoners with their families, portraying them as a movement that aims to aid the people of Iraq. Although by prolonging the conflict between the militant Sunni’s and the Iraqi Shia’s, the only result will be a civil war. At this point in time, the idea of a unified Iraq seems impossible; the country seems most likely to split up into separate states. Not only does ISIS pose a threat to Iraq, but it is also a major setback to western governments, as it produced a re-thinking of how to approach a group that is anti-western in a country that was not so long ago occupied by American troops.
Foreign involvement in the crisis has come through two main countries: Iran and America. As 90% of Iranians are Shia, stopping the sectarian group will help keep their own people safe. Although this comes alongside the history of discontent between both Iraq and Iran; it poses the fear of further Iranian involvement and the status of Iranian troops in Iraq once ISIS is subdued and no longer creates a threat to Iraq. This is also the case through American involvement. The last time America took an interest in Iraq, it left a wide platform for extremist groups to take responsibility in governing the war-torn country; American troops also remained in Iraq for 9 years after their initial invasion.

On the 19th June 2014, Obama stated that US forces “will not be returning to combat in Iraq”, but 300 officials will be sent to Iraq to guard the embassy and gather more information on the extremist group. President Obama’s statement can be perceived as both a positive and a negative. As the adamant position that Obama has taken into not placing US troops lessens conflict between ISIS and the west, it also presents the assumption that the US have gained an understanding of the repercussions that rapid involvement creates. On the other hand, sending 300 military officials furthers the gap between the Middle East and America. As the use military officials reinforce the image of a selfish and self-serving America, an America only cares about its embassy and not the people that fear for their lives. 

Edna Mohamed

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