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The rise of isis after the war in iraq

After eight long years, the war seemed like it was over. Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki flew to Washington to mark the occasion.

It was a moment of optimism. There was a sense of pride that the occupying forces really left. And a lot of Iraqis—Sunnis and Shias—were responding positively to that. Both sides presented it as a victory. Maliki presented it as a great accomplishment—Iraq would stand on its own two feet. President Obama talked about this new democratic Iraq.

What we have now achieved is an Iraq that is self-governing, that is inclusive and that has enormous potential. As somebody who voted for President Obama, I was deeply disappointed because I knew those words were going to go back and haunt him. Thank you very much, everybody. It was at that trip, actually, when things started to go astray. We were at the Blair House, I recall. Maliki—he was fiddling with his phone. Maliki relayed the news to President Obama. I think he interpreted this may be some support of any future actions.

The response he got from the president was that this is an internal Iraqi affair.

  1. Almost, they are my close relatives.
  2. After he was released from Bucca, the American-run prison, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi would, in time, become head of Al Qaeda in Iraq, directing ambushes on Iraqi forces and suicide bombings. Presumably, Biden gets on the phone to Maliki, or—I mean, what happens?
  3. So I called them. They came to break a bunch of people out of prison.

And that, to Maliki, was a green light in terms of what he can do with the Sunnis because the United States is not going to stand in his way. Maliki immediately orders that Hashemi be arrested.

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And it took a lot of people by surprise. I think that was a departure point. It showed Maliki is really independent from the Americans. Before he could be arrested, Hashemi fled. He was tried in absentia and sentenced to death. We interviewed him in Doha, the capital of Qatar. Some of your bodyguards appeared on television. We carried out an assassination using a silencer.

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I do have plenty of reports of the way that my guards were being treated, unfortunately. Well, they just receive brutal torturing, in fact. So the confessions were likely the result of torture? Hundreds of Sunnis are being arrested after the American leaving of the country—thousands, in fact. In 2012, thousands of Sunnis suspected of subversion were held for months or longer without charges ever being filed. So everyone talk to Maliki that this is not the way of dealing with the people.

This is a discrimination, in fact. But he is not listening to anyone. The Shia militia were very, very violent.

There were many, many instances in Baghdad, and in many other parts of Iraq, of Sunnis turning up with a bullet in the back of their head and their hands bound behind them. This was a daily, daily occurrence. After the departure of the Americans, more and more Sunnis turned up dead in the streets of Baghdad. He sees military coups. He sees plots against him. He sees a population which despises him and wants to come back into power. I think that he was suspicious of them, really, of this force.

They were not sustained or maintained as a potential force that the government might need later on. And then the other key thing was that Sunni leaders in the army and Sunni leaders in the police began to be sidelined, and people with a strong Shia sectarian bent replaced them. And that meant that a lot of people felt they were being excluded. And that was true, they were. It was not much of a force.

The surge and the Sunni awakening had severely reduced it. Remember, by the time the Americans left Iraq, the insurgency was broken, the Sunni insurgency. It was on its last legs. Al Qaeda had been decimated. This is a collection of very hardened killers. These are mostly young men who were in prison, some of them under Maliki.

Some of them were in U. After he was released from Bucca, the American-run prison, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi would, in time, become head of Al Qaeda in Iraq, directing ambushes on Iraqi forces and suicide bombings.

But he had greater ambitions. In the summer of 2011, he sent a few men into Syria to join the rebels fighting the Shia government of Bashar al Assad. For Baghdadi, the Syrian war was a gift. Suddenly, you have a complete breakdown of the state in Syria. You have this vast, open space between the two countries. Their message gains traction with the Sunnis of Syria, who are looking to wage a civil war against the Shia government.

Al Qaeda was joining the fight along with dozens of other Syrian Sunni rebel groups, but it quickly became a major force. Baghdadi sends a bunch of guys into Syria.

It goes from being nothing to being the most powerful, active group. And Maliki upped the ante in December 2012, when his police rounded up the bodyguards of another prominent Sunni leader, Finance Minister Rafi al Essawi. Rafi Essawi—everybody loves the guy. And the rise of isis after the war in iraq when his bodyguards are arrested, that, I think, is the real blow to the Sunni community because everybody knows Rafi Essawi is a peaceful man.

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Yes, they attacked the office, and they took 16 of my bodyguards. These are almost—eight, ten years they are with me. I am sure that they are against terrorism, all of them. Almost, they are my close relatives. I called Maliki up. He was with us yesterday in the cabinet. And now some police people have gone to arrest him? This is absolutely unacceptable.

Tony Blair is right: without the Iraq war there would be no Islamic State

Hundreds of thousands of people were very upset because they feel that this is a story of dignity. No Sunni is exempted. People started to prepare for a big demonstration in Fallujah and Ramadi. So I called them. They are protesting for their rights. They are telling us of in one month or twice in a month, three months, raids in their community and collecting just young people like that.

They were not fully integrated into the security forces, as was promised. So they felt again completely marginalized. The average man in the street, woman in the street, Sunni, perceived it exactly that same way.

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Officials in the White House saw what was happening. Ambassador to Iraq, 2010-12: This was a constant warning that I had made and that others had made before me, that Maliki was a problem. The Obama Administration certainly did tell Prime Minister Maliki and other Iraqis that they wanted to see them play by the democratic rules, that they thought it was a mistake for them to go after their political rivals in this fashion.

But they did it in private. And they certainly never imposed any kind of a cost. I think everybody just kept their fingers crossed that, ultimately, Maliki would somehow step down or be replaced and that Iraq would be in a better place. We were engaged with Prime Minister Maliki.

And we were seeking to manage this and press Iraqi leaders to move in a more inclusive direction. As weeks went by, the demonstrations grew. In Ramadi, protesters camped out on the main road between Baghdad and Jordan, a vital trucking artery. In other Sunni cities and towns—Fallujah, Mosul, Tikrit—other protests halted traffic and commerce.

With youth unemployment running as high as 40 percent, young men were free to gather. And support poured in from around the Sunni Arab world to pay for tents, meals and transportation.