“Fragile Alliance Threatens Iraqi Town’s Progress”
The Washington Post, September 6, 2014, p.A1
“For weeks, Iraqi Kurdish fighters had joined an unusual alliance to free this dusty highway town besieged by Islamic State fighters. … But on Friday, as the Kurdish pesh merga fighters approached the city to greet the residents they helped save, they were treated less like liberators and more like intruders. ‘Pesh merga forces are not allowed to enter this city!’ yelled a Shiite militiaman with Kataib Hezbollah, an Iraqi group. He waved his rifle at them and the pesh merga retreated. ‘We fought for three months here, and now we have to fight these bastards,’ said one of the pesh merga, who regard this area as part of their territory. ‘If this continues, we’ll have another war.’ … The road to Amerli also offers a glimpse of how the last few months of fighting have destroyed virtually every vestige of the Iraqi state in the north. After being turned away from Amerli, the pesh merga fighters returned to their base, just three miles away, passing through a half-dozen other Shiite militia checkpoints. Some belonged to the Badr Brigades, others to Saraya al-Salam and Asaib Ahl al-Haq. All were vying for influence in the area. Each flew their own militia flag; the Iraqi flag was nowhere to be seen.”
Quickie Analysis: Even when groups are willing to cooperate vs. ISIS, nobody is fighting for the Iraqi state as a whole. That does not bode well for the future.