Comments on the Crisis in Iraq

ISIS Fighters in Syria (Source: Reuters)

Below you can find selected comments (of mine) from an interview I provided a few days ago to a news agency in Turkey. The report was prepared, and published (as far as I know), but now it is nowhere to be found. My best guess is that it was removed (or denied publication) due to censoring – other reasons are not excluded as I am not a fan of conspiracy theories. The report included comments from Dr. Glen Rangwala as well. Admittedly, the quotes by myself and Dr. Rangwala did not suggest anything radical or absurd, but it seems that (possibly) someone did either not like our comments or looked us up and – for some reason – did not like our profile or other works. You can find the report as it was prepared for the agency in Turkish at the end of the article.

Note: I do not know Dr. Randgwala and he is in no way involved in the writing and publication of this post.

Zenonas Tziarras Selected Comments

  • “It’s still not clear which regional powers might benefit from this situation as it seems that ISIS poses a potential threat to most of them. However, we must acknowledge that the crisis in Iraq has vindicated Syria’s president, Bashar al Assad, who has been saying that he was fighting with dangerous terrorist that would become a threat if he were to be overthrown. Within this framework Iran’s role in Syria and Iraq has been indirectly legitimized as it has now emerged as a fighter of terrorism in these countries.”
  • “It is clear that for now ISIS, its Iraqi wing, and other Sunni extremist groups in the country, have been the ones who have benefited the most. Perhaps the Kurds of Iraq have benefited equally given that they got to expand their territories and, by extension, to bring the prospect of establishing a bigger and independent Iraqi Kurdistan closer.”
  • “Western powers should not have invaded Iraq in the first place. They bear a big part of the blame for the current situation. However, they are now responsible to help the Iraqi government manage this threat and ensure the stability, integrity, and security of the country.
  • “What is happening in Iraq is both religious extremism and sectarianism at the same time; they are intertwined and, therefore, very dangerous. ISIS is excessively violent, it massacres without discretion on a sectarian basis, and appears to be against all the other parties of the conflict. It might become an example for other extremists to follow, and this is a very dangerous prospect.”
  • “Prior to 2003 the Shiite population in Iraq was oppressed by the Sunni majority. Al-Maliki has reversed these roles and rules in a non-democratic way that marginalizes other social (ethnic or religious) groups thus leading to sectarian and ethno-religious conflict.”
  • “…Kurds will stand their ground. They are not willing to undertake a military offensive against ISIS but they will fight with all their might to keep their territories and people safe. When it comes to Iraqi Kurds in particular, the stakes are too high, and they will not let ISIS take away their opportunity of expanded boarders and oil-rich territories.”
  • “It is very possible that Iraq will be de facto divided into three (or more) different geographical zones – the Kurds, the government Shia-led territories, and the ISIS seized territories.”
  • “…sectarian antagonisms have been there long before 2003. The social and political structure of the country played a big role in shaping these domestic and sectarian relations. However the US-led invasion allowed the different groups to pursuit their own and incompatible goals thus leading to an explosive situation and a protracted civil war. Moreover, the Western post-conflict state-building efforts were not successful as they did not take seriously into account indigenous realities.”
  • “I believe the crisis in Iraq has the potential of bringing about regional and international geopolitical changes. We might see Iran and the West (United States in particular) coming closer together and even cooperating to manage the crisis. The acceleration of the Turkish-Israeli reconciliation is also a possibility given the common and potentially regional threat they face in Iraq. Assad’s regime is Syria is now more likely to survive as the West might be reluctant to push for regime change and thereby make way for Syria’s jihadists. We will see domestic geographical zones in Iraq being gradually shaped through conflict and we will see Kurdistan consolidating its control over its territories in Northern Iraq. The West will start considering ways of dealing with the Islamists threat, not only in Iraq but in the greater region more generally.”
  • “From what I know, ISIS said that it will not harm the [Turkish] hostages in [Mosul’s Turkey consulate] while Turkey tried to construct a narrative that depicts the hostage situation as not being a direct attack on Turkey. This means that Ankara is still in a dilemma and is not ready to take drastic measures; otherwise it would have already done so. It will definitely seek other ways of taking the hostages out but, eventually, if nothing else works it might consider limited military action or the deployment of Special Forces to free the hostages. Let’s not forget, after all, that we are very close to the presidential elections and the AKP cannot afford a failure or a tragedy at the Turkish consulate in Iraq [i.e. Mosul].“

The Prepared Report in Turkish

(NOTE: The journalist’s and the agency’s name have been removed as I have no reason to generalize whatever possible (not definite) responsibilities exist (if they indeed do exist) for the non-publication or removal of the report – the main aim of this post is the publication of Iraq-related comments and estimations)

– Warwick Üniversitesi öğretim üyesi Tziarras:

– “Batılı güçlerin 2003’teki Irak işgali yanlıştı. Ülkedeki mevcut durumun en büyük suçlusu onlar”

– “Irak’ın fiilen üçe ya da daha fazla coğrafi bölgeye bölünmesi çok muhtemel”

– Cambridge Üniversitesi öğretim üyesi Dr Rangwala:

– “Doğrudan askeri harekat IŞİD önderliğinde daha geniş bir ittifaka yok açabilir”

Uluslararası ilişkiler uzmanları, dış güçlerin Irak’a olası askeri müdahalesinin Irak Şam İslam Devleti (IŞİD) terör örgütünün önderliğinde daha geniş bir ittifaka yol açma riski taşıdığına dikkati çekerek, mevcut krizin coğrafi değişimlere neden olacağını vurguluyor.

Warwick Üniversitesi Uluslararası Çalışmalar ve Politika Bölümü öğretim üyesi Zenonas Tziarras X’ya yaptığı açıklamada, Batılı güçlerin 2003’teki Irak işgalinin yanlış olduğunu belirterek, “Ülkedeki mevcut durumun en büyük suçlusu onlar. Şimdi de Irak hükümetinin bu tehditi nasıl yöneteceğine, istikrar, güvenlik ve bütünlüğü nasıl sağlayacağına yardım etmek zorundalar. Irak’ta şu anda yaşananalar hem dini aşırıcılık hem de mezhepçilik. Bu ikisi içiçe geçmiş durumda ve bu nedenle de çok tehlikeli” diye konuştu.

Tziarras, IŞİD’in bölge ülkelerinin çoğu için tehdit oluşturduğuna dikkati çekerek şöyle konuştu:

“Irak’ın fiilen üçe yada daha fazla coğrafi bölgeye bölünmesi çok muhtemel. Bunlar, Kürtler, Şii yönetimli bölgeler ve IŞİD tarafından ele geçirilmiş topraklar. Krizin bölgesel ve uluslararası coğrafi değişimleri beraberinde getirme potansiyeli olduğuna inanıyorum. İran ve özellikle Batının yakınlaştığını, hatta bu krizi yöneteceğini görebiliriz. Irak’tan gelen ortak ve olası bölgesel tehdit sebebiyle, Türk-İsrail uzlaşısının ivme kazanması da bir olasılık. Çatışma süresince Irak’ın içinde coğrafi bölgelerin yavaş yavaş şekil aldığını, Kürt bölgesinin Kuzey Irak’ta kendi topraklarını birleştirdiğini göreceğiz. Batı, sadece Irak’ta değil, tüm bölgede genel olarak İslami tehditle başetmenin yollarını arayacaktır.”

-“Daha fazla radikalleşmeye neden olacaktır”-

Cambridge Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler ve Politika Bölümü öğretim üyesi Dr Glen Rangwala da, “Eğer dış güçler Felluce, Musul, Tikrit ve diğer IŞİD tarafından tutulan kentlerin geri alınmasındaki askeri harekatta yer alırsa, ülkede ılımlı grupların IŞİD önderliğindeki bir ittifaka sürüklenme riski var. Bu Irak nüfusunun geniş bir kısmı üzerinde daha fazla radikalleşme etkisi yaratacaktır” ifadelerini kullandı.

Irak’taki mevcut krizde birçok Iraklının yerlerinden edildiğine dikkati çeken Rangwala, bu kişilere yardım etmek için diğer ülkelerin çok önemli bir rolü olduğunu, aksi halde bölgesel güvenlikle ilgili risklerin artacağını belirtti.

Dr Rangwala Irak’ın 2003’te işgal edilmesinin bölgede yarattığı olumsuz etkilerinin altını çizerek, “Bu, Arap dünyası genelinde daha büyük bir mezhepçiliğe yol açtı. El-Kaide’yi, Suriye ve Irak genelinde popüler bir araca dönüştürdü. Bu önceden böyle değildi. Dış aktörlerin yaşayacağı zorluk, durumu daha da kötü hale getirmemek olacaktır. Doğrudan askeri harekat IŞİD önderliğinde daha geniş bir ittifaka yok açabilir” diye belirtti.

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