Iraq 2017

On Friday November 03rd Iraqi forces took the last ISIS held town in Iraq. It is the border town of Al-Qaim. With the capture of Al-Qaim Iraqi forces has secured the Southern Syrian border. At the same time Iraqi forces are advancing through Kurdish resistance to secure Northern syrian and  most importantly Turkish border. Iraqi troops lost Turkish border in 1990 after US established no-fly zone over Northern Iraq aka "Kurdistan". How did this change come about after Iraq has been described as a failed state for decades.

First we must look at the recent history.

In the 60s Iraq emerged as the strongest Arab state in middle east. It has immense oil wealth, agriculture and highly skilled people. In 1973 October war Iraq played a significant role in saving Damascus from an Israeli counter offensive . Iraqi tanks crossed the desert in 24 hrs to protect Damascus. From that time US and western powers realized that biggest conventional threat to Israel in Middle East is Iraq and set about the policy of destruction of Iraq. This policy had multiple approaches . Firstly to create an independent Kurdistan in the Northern Iraq. Secondly to divide Iraqis into Sunnis, Shites and various other religious states. Although during the rule of Baathist party , Iraq became more strong, under Saddam it made terrible mistakes. Saddam goaded by reactionary Arab states led by Saudi Arabia fought 10 years war with Iran. Iraq's power was sapped by this war. Then Saddam miscalculated under the influence of US puppet Mubarak of Egypt launched the invasion of Kuwait. US used Mubarak to draw Saddam into a trap and used this opportunity to launch the attack on Iraq with help of conservative Arab states who bankrolled the war. Saddam was defeated , US imposed no fly zones in the South and North. Kurds supported by western powers established "Kurdistan" thereby taking the whole of Northern Iraq and oil wealth. 
US did not stop with it. They launched a second invasion in 2003, overthrew Saddam and established a new colonial state. Iraqi wealth was plundered by US and other Western powers. In addition US imposed a new constitution which literally created multiple sectarian states. In addition old Iraqi armed forces was disbanded and a corrupt army which was weak and sectarian was created. Although premier Nuri Maliki tried to rebuild the forces, US and western powers with the help of Turkey and Kurds then unleashed the ISIL terrorists into Iraq. Iraqi forces collapsed . Kurds took more areas in the North including oil rich city of Kirkuk.  ISIS took over the entire Sunni region. Nuri Maliki resigned.

Two important developments happened. Ayatollah Sistani the most import Shiite religious leader issued a fatwa calling on Iraqis to fight for the country. A new popular mobilization forces (PMU) was built with Iranian assistance to protect Baghdad. A new prime minister Obadi was appointed. Obadi who is a nationalist started rebuilding the Iraqi armed forces. Then ISIS attacked the Kurds. US and western powers suddenly found the Frankenstein monster 
they created turn against their own ally. They quickly intervened to protect Kurds. Since ISIS became a common enemy, West also started supporting and training Iraqi forces. Western airforce bombed ISIS without achieving any real battle field changes. 

However new Iraqi armed forces with PMU started pushing ISIS back. Slowly they recovered the areas and cities lost after years of fighting. Iraqi army took nearly 7 months to recapture Mosul after house to house fighting. US coalition was boasting as if they were rolling back ISIS which has become an international threat.Their aircraft destroyed cities so that western companies can benefit in rebuilding. With the capture of al-qaim ISIS conventional threat is neutralized. But the most significant development is the combined Iraqi forces and PMU has become strong , battle hardened forces. They are truly a national force and not a sectarian force.

Kurds with the covert support of US, went for the independence referendum in September this year. It was opposed by neighboring countries. Only Israel supported it. It was to be a second Israel in the heart of Arab world. But Obadi was patient. He repaired Iraq's relationship with Saudi Arabia , got the support of Iran and Turkey. Turkey with it's own Kurdish rebellion saw an independent Kurdistan a threat. 

Once Obadi had the Arab and Turkish backing sent the iraqi forces to take over Kirkuk and and other disputed areas. Now Iraqi forces are also taking over the Turkish border which was controlled by Kurds and used by US to supply aid to all kind of terrorists in both Iraq and Syria . Since Iraqi forces have reached the Syrian forces , PMU has announced it will cross the border in Syria to recapture the ISIS controlled territory. This is an ominous development to US and West as they have been carving out Syrian side of the border with their own puppet rebels under the guise of fighting ISIS. In fact  ISIS terrorists who are running from Iraqi and Syrian forces have been surrendering to US backed rebels and Kurds ostensibly to be used for a future round of fighting.

What will US do. US will want to protect Iraqi Kurds and it's own Syrian rebels which include Syrian Kurds. But this would mean attacking Iraqi forces. Is US ready for a new road of Iraqi war while facing North Korean crisis. In addition Trump has its own problems. US may still bomb Iraqi forces. But that will evoke a serious reaction in the Arab world as Obadi has solid Arab support. Real danger for US interests is the PMU which may advance further in Syria in support of Syrian army and may reach Israeli border. One of the component of PMU is Al -Quds (Jerusalem) force which has vowed to liberate Jerusalem.

Either way a strong Iraq will be a serious problem for US. A threat which US thought it has destroyed with Saddam has come back again. But Obadi is not Saddam. He is an intelligent leader. Iraq will never forget that Israel backed " Kurdistan". At last Palestinians have hope.