The latest face of the Iraqi crisis highlighted by the ability of the group called the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to control more than a third of the country cannot be isolated from the continuing deteriorating situation there since the United States' invasion of Iraq.

The deplorable decisions of the then-American ruler of Iraq, Paul Bremer -- including dissolving the Iraqi army and dividing Iraq in accordance with sectarian and ethnic affiliations -- triggered the civil war, which followed the invasion.

Since then, civil strive and violence has frequently re-emerged, although sometimes at fairly low levels.

While Shiite and Kurdish militias were able to thrive under the American domination of Iraq, Sunni Arabs suffered from discrimination and the revenge of the former.

However, some extremist Shiite militias were confronted by the united forces in Iraq, but the other Shiite and Kurdish militias affiliated with the dominating political groups in Iraq were allowed to operate freely.

Furthermore, the new Iraqi army, which was established with the help of the United States, is in reality a collection of militias representing the dominating political groups in Iraq.

In the latest crisis, the Iraqi army abandoned its positions and weaponry and was not able to demonstrate any resistance to ISIS militias.


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The United States spent billions of dollars to train and equip the Iraqi army, with a declared goal of fighting terrorism. However, this army could not resist ISIS militias.

The dilemma for the Obama administration is rooted in the belief that the present Iraqi government is the best available instrument to fight terrorism. This despite its dismal performance, not only on the security level, but also the corruption level and the lack of transparency (unfortunately, Iraq is among the lowest states in the world with lack of transparency and efficiency in government).

It is ironic that, despite the differences between the United States and Iran, both are supportive of the Iraqi government.

For the United States, the Iraqi government is an ally against the so-called Arab-Sunni extremism in the Middle East.

As for Iran, now it is the actual ruler of Iraq, and that is because of the American invasion of the country.

The Iraqi crisis is a political crisis and cannot be resolved by military means.

The United Nations Security Council should immediately intervene and adopt measures to ensure democracy and respect for human rights in Iraq, and particularly ending the present sectarian policies of the Iraqi government, by emphasizing the need for inclusiveness of all sectors of the Iraqi society to share its wealth, and prosperity.

This noble goal could not be achieved without effective intervention by the United Nations alone, so the international community, including the media, human-rights groups and other nongovernmental organizations, must put pressure on the Obama administration and the United Nations to put an end to ethnic, religious, and other forms of discrimination and to establish true democracy in Iraq.

Finally, an urgent appeal to President Barack Obama: Do not use military force in Iraq; convene an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council to adopt measures to end this latest crisis in Iraq.

Amer Araim is an adjunct professor of political science at Diablo Valley College. He is also a former Iraqi diplomat who served at the U.N. He is a resident of Walnut Creek.