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2014年6月30日 (月)

イラク流動化 無秩序の拡大を食い止めたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Further chaos must be stemmed in face of deepening Iraq crisis
イラク流動化 無秩序の拡大を食い止めたい

The chaos in Iraq has been fast spreading across its border. To avoid this situation leading to destabilization of the Middle East as a whole, countries concerned such as Iraq and the United States must join hands in pressing ahead with addressing this challenge.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, a Sunni militant extremist group that claims to uphold the founding of a new state based on Islamic law, has taken control of towns and oil fields in the central and western regions of Iraq, and expelled Iraqi government forces from the Iraqi-Syrian border area.

In the region near the border with Syria, the Al-Nustra Front, a terrorist organization affiliated with Al-Qaida that is fighting the administration of Syrian President Bashar Assad, has launched a joint struggle with ISIS. Members of the two extremist groups have reportedly moved freely between the two countries as if no border exists, thus aggravating the chaotic situation.

As a result, the Syrian military has carried out air strikes on the border region, which has been welcomed by the Iraqi government. The new development is indicative of a blending of the civil wars in the two countries stemming from conflicts between Shiite and Sunni militants, exposing how complex the confrontation really is.

As if taking advantage of this turmoil, Kurdish forces, a minority group based in northern Iraq, have embarked on running one of Iraq’s main refineries and oil exports on their own, a highly alarming move that could end up splitting Iraq.

Iraqi existence at stake

Also problematic in this connection are reports that huge amounts of cash have been flowing to Sunni extremists from Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, a major Sunni power. Saudi Arabia’s decision to sever the flow of funds would be a key step toward resolving the imbroglio.

It is only natural that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, on a tour of Middle East and European countries earlier this month, warned that the ongoing crisis could be fatal to “Iraq’s existence as a state, and it is also a threat to the wider region [of the Middle East as a whole].” As it has ruled out the option of deploying ground troops in Iraq, the United States should accelerate its diplomatic efforts.

Washington, for that matter, has decided to extend financial assistance to Syria’s moderate rebels against the Assad regime. The decision appears to be aimed at blunting the capability of ISIS by helping the moderates hold the Al-Nusra Front in check.

In the meantime, a 180-strong team of U.S. military advisers has begun operating in Iraq. Washington says the advisers will help rebuild the Iraqi forces, while collecting information about how ISIS is organized and its probable future moves, in an effort to eventually specify targets by armed drones, which are one of the options the United States may employ in the future.

To prevent the collapse of Iraq’s foundation as a state, the United States aims to rally states and other forces that have an influence over Iraq, but has still fallen short of completing the task of drawing up any feasible scenario.

Kerry has been persistently urging Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to form a government of national unity, including Sunni and Kurdish forces. The Iraqi prime minister must waste no time in realizing national reconciliation.

The Japanese government, for its part, has decided to provide about ¥600 million in assistance to Iraqi refugees. This country should continue its cooperation to help stabilize the Iraqi situation.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 29, 2014)


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