Ending the Violence in Iraq

  • 14 July 2013

The violence that has gripped Iraq in recent weeks, especially the bomb attack on a café in Kirkuk on Friday which killed 31 people, has brought memories of the sectarian strife of 2006-07. Several villages in the country have witnessed acts of violence which, according to United Nations figures, has claimed more than 2,500 lives during the past three months, including 761 last month alone. More than 190 people have been killed in sporadic attacks all over Iraq since early July.

The rising cases of violence in Iraq are a cause of worry as they are furthering the divide among various political forces. Several crucial issues have grinded to a halt adding greater uncertainty to the political situation as a whole. Violence has continued alongside demonstrations against the Nouri Al-Maliki government calling for political, legislative and legal reforms, and for greater sectarian balance in government organizations and agencies.

It has been warned that if the ongoing security and political situation drags on for too long, it will pose a major threat to the future of Iraq. US Vice President Joe Biden expressed his country’s concern over the cycle of violence, which makes it necessary for various political forces to meet and bridge the divide in order to prevent the country from descending into chaos and civil war.

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq’s chief of human rights, Francesco Motta, recently warned against rising sectarian divisions which, according to him, are even more grave than in 2007. These circumstances have put Iraq at a crossroads and it has become necessary for the various political powers in the country to deal with these challenges in a responsible manner and give national interests precedence over narrow-minded sectarian ones.

Iraqis must unite in rejecting this bloodshed and treat extremism and terrorism as enemy that must be stopped by all means. They must begin by accepting the fact that continuing to remain at loggerheads is no longer an option and that time has come to reach a political consensus on various issues. More importantly, anti-Iraq forces should by no means be given the chance to mar the country’s future.

History is testimony to the fact that political consensus is the only means to build a strong and unified Iraq – one that is capable of facing challenges and standing up to extremists and terrorists who want to make Iraq unstable. Political consensus is the only way toward national reconciliation and has the potential to end discrimination. It is the best possible way for ending the crisis and bringing about security, stability and prosperity in Iraq.