News Release

Iraq Sectarianism Spawned by U.S. War and Maliki’s Crushing of Peaceful Protests


Peaceful protests in the spring of 2013 were crushed by the Maliki government

SAMI RASOULI, in Iraq; early next month in U.S. sami.rasouli at
Rasouli is founder of the Muslim Peacemaker Teams in Iraq. In a recent interview with “Democracy Now!“, he said: “When the ISIS took over Mosul, right away, the Kurdish peshmerga, the Kurdish power in northern Iraq, took over Kirkuk, the richest city in the northern part of Iraq. …

“Since 2003, the inner fight has been based on dividing Iraqis into sects and ethnic groups, like Sunni, Shia, Arab, Kurd, religiously Christian and Muslim. That’s what is going on after the invasion. Iraq was one piece; now we see it falling apart.”

See 2013 IPA news release “How the Iraq Invasion Spawned Sectarian War.”

ROSS CAPUTI, rosscaputi at
Caputi, a veteran of the occupation of Iraq, is on the board of directors of ISLAH (Arabic for “repair” or “reform”); he also directed and produced the documentary film “Fear Not the Path of Truth.”

Caputi just wrote the piece “Unthinkable Thoughts in the Debate About ISIS in Iraq,” which states: “One year ago ISIS was concentrated in Syria, with almost no presence in Iraq. During this time, a nonviolent protest movement, which called itself the Iraqi Spring, was in full swing with widespread support in the Sunni provinces and significant support from the Shia provinces as well. This movement set up nonviolent protest camps in many cities throughout Iraq for nearly the entire year of 2013. They articulated a set of demands calling for an end to the marginalization of Sunnis within the new Iraqi democracy, reform of an anti-terrorism law that was being used label political dissent as terrorism, abolition of the death penalty, an end to corruption, and they positioned themselves against federalism and sectarianism too.

“Instead of making concessions to the protesters and defusing their rage, Prime Minister Maliki mocked their demands and chose to use military force to attack them on numerous occasions. Over the course of a year, the protesters were assaulted, murdered, and their leaders were assassinated, but they remained true to their adopted tactic of nonviolence. That is, until Prime Minister Maliki sent security forces to clear the protest camps in Fallujah and Ramadi in December of 2013. At that point the protestors lost hope in the tactic of nonviolence and turned to armed resistance instead.

“It is important to note that from the beginning it was the tribal militias who took the lead in the fight against the Iraqi government. ISIS arrived a day later to aid Fallujans in their fight, but also to piggy-back on the success of the tribal fighters in order to promote their own political goals. …

“While publicly criticizing the Maliki government’s sectarian policies, the U.S. has been aiding and facilitating” the Maliki government. Caputi added: “The impunity of the Maliki government is never questioned in the debate raging within the U.S. It is simply unimaginable within the limits of this debate that Maliki might be held accountable for the war crimes his regime has committed against his own people.”

See from Feb. 8, 2013, Washington PostArab Spring-Style Protests Take Hold in Iraq” — and a few weeks later from The Independent, April 23, 2013: “Dozens Die as Anger Spreads Over Iraq Army Raid on Protest Camp.”