IS won’t be controlled without Sunni-Shiite reconciliation – 13 April 2015
A power-sharing agreement could help sides reconcile in age-old conflict Twelve years ago, a US invasion brought Iraq’s majority religious group, Shiite Muslims, to power after centuries of Sunni Muslim rule. For Iraqis, the religious divide goes beyond religious beliefs, with the sectarian divide seeping into ethnic and political dimensions as well. With Sunni Muslims, Shiite Muslims, and Kurds making up the bulk of religious and ethnic demographics in Iraq, the struggle to create a fair and sustainable power-sharing deal has proven to be the biggest challenge for a democratic Iraq.
Odd coalition takes Tikrit and differs on next steps – 8 April 2015
Offensive pushes out remaining ISIS holdouts
Last week the United States stepped in to aid a major Iraqi offensive against the Islamic State [IS] militant group, after several weeks of failed attempts by Iraqi militias to overtake the IS stronghold of Tikrit. The operation, which pushed out the remaining IS militant occupation, was backed by a diverse, and unlikely, combination of Iranian advisers, Iraqi soldiers, Shiite militias, and, in the end, US-led airstrikes which finally sealed the victory. However, the victory in Tikrit while celebrated by the Iraqi government and its allies, could raise two major issues in Iraq’s uncertain domestic and international relationships. The first issue concerns how to proceed in the war against IS with US support. And the second is how to secure the trust and support of the Iraqi Sunni tribes as the government and international community inch closer to acceptance of significant Iranian influence in Iraq.
Tikrit Liberation Still ‘Days Away’? – 24 March 2015
Tikrit still on way to liberation?
The military operation to recapture Tikrit has slowed as security forces, backed by Shia militias and Sunni tribal fighters wait for reinforcements to prepare for heavy fighting in the city center in the home town of Saddam Hussein. In the past week, Iraqi security forces (ISF) and allies have advanced into the city from three directions and had captured much of the outlying suburbs of Tikrit. The defensive position controlled by IS now encompasses the industrial area in Tikrit and the presidential palace.