Civil War Looms on The Horizon for Iraq

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Al-Qaeda backed militants and Sunni tribesmen have wrested control of Fallujah and Ramadi, two of Iraq’s largest cities.

The loss of these cities has served as the pinnacle of rising violence in Iraq since the American military withdrew their forces in 2011. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki is strongly considering a large-scale military assault to take back Fallujah.

However, without American troops to help, a victory is uncertain at best.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), which has ties to Al-Qaeda, has played a pivotal part in the gradual destabilization of Iraq with their seizure of Fallujah.

To complicate matters further, the Sunni tribes that once backed Coalition Forces during the Iraq War have now violently turned against Mr. Maliki and the federal government.

Bing West, a Marine Corps Veteran and author of several books that extensively cover the Iraq War, believes the actions of Mr. Maliki, a Shi’a Muslim, with his harsh treatment of the Sunni minority are largely responsible for their recent uprising.

“Maliki’s oppression of the Sunnis caused this,” West told, “The Iraqi national election in April will be a mess. Maliki will probably lose.”

Amidst the growing conflict spurred by the violent rift between Sunnis and Shi’as and the ever-strengthening ISIS, analysts fear that if the government cannot quell the unrest soon, Iraq could find itself in the quagmire of a civil war.

Due to the fact that Ramadi and Fallujah are two of the largest cities in Iraq, the government’s inability to re-establish control over them could encourage other militants and angered Sunnis to join the conflict and resist the rule of Mr. Maliki, according to BBC News.

The United States of America has promised to send military supplies, though Secretary of State John Kerry has made it clear that there will be no boots on the ground.

While the Iraqi government will remain largely on its own for this struggle, the success or failure of their inevitable military campaign will soon dictate if the years of work put in and the sacrifices made by American military personnel will ultimately be all for naught.

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