Tags: America's Forum | Iraq | ISIS/Islamic State | ISIS | Iraq | oil fields | Sunnis

Walid Phares: Sunnis Are Key to Iraqi Victory Over ISIS

By    |   Monday, 03 November 2014 11:31 AM

The Iraqi army already has a lot of equipment, Middle East expert Walid Phares told Newsmax TV on Monday, but what it really needs is to include Sunnis in its ranks.

"The problem is not going to be only on the military level," Phares told "America's Forum" host J.D. Hayworth. "Yes they can advance, but can they hold the ground? Can they occupy those places? Can they not be attacked later at night by jihadists who are Sunnis?"

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The issue is not technological when it comes to the Iraqi forces, as much as it is political, Phares continued.

"Their government needs to make sure that they have enough Sunni participation for them to be ready to not just go and seize those places, but also be able to occupy them and have the people support them," he told Hayworth.

The Pentagon and other officials have been public about the Iraqi army's planned spring operation because of political considerations, Phares agreed.

"There has been a lot of pressure both in Iraq and the region and even here about what is our response," Phares said. "How is it that a terrorist organization that would be the Islamic State can seize one third plus in Iraq and one third plus in Syria?

"Despite all our air campaigns and despite all the advisers that we send, the Iraqis are not making gains on the ground."

But if there is no evidence that the Iraqi army is changing and the government is changing politically, "we're going to see more of the same, because they have done those offensives many, many times. What they're not able to do is to rally the population," Phares said.

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Meanwhile, Phares described the ISIS massacre of at least 50 tribesmen and women in the Anbar province last week as a "terrible tragedy, one of the darkest chapters in the war."

The anti-ISIS coalition is not liberating such areas from the Islamic State, said Phares, and as a result "ISIS is acting like a Nazi regime inside the Sunni areas of Iraq and in Syria ... they go against them, they kill males, [and] sometimes they even kill children and the elderly."

The terror regime is being imposed to make sure nobody rises up against ISIS, said Phares, and an alliance is needed as soon as possible with Sunni tribes "before they are decimated, otherwise we won't have anybody to ally with in the Sunni areas."

And while such tribes are armed individually, they do not have the heavy weaponry they need to fight ISIS forces, said Phares.

"It's a reminder of how the German Nazis used to retaliate against the French Resistance," said Phares. "There were killings, mass killings, and that's what's happening now. The last 50 people killed is just the last group of people. They have been killing hundreds of them."

And ISIS keeps growing by seizing energy resources, he said.

"They have already oil reserves in Iraq and now in Syria so they're becoming an oil-producing regime," said Phares. "They cannot sell them on an international market because they're not government recognized ... they sell them tactically, meaning they sell them to whomever wants to buy in Turkey, in Syria, in Iraq and even beyond those borders.

"They are very important ways for them to get cash and that's what they need."

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The Iraqi army already has a lot of equipment, Middle East expert Walid Phares told "America's Forum" on Monday, but what it really needs is to include Sunnis in its ranks.
ISIS, Iraq, oil fields, Sunnis
Monday, 03 November 2014 11:31 AM
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