Juan Cole: Mass Sunni Uprising Forces Iraq to Confront Sectarian Blowback of 2003 U.S. Invasion

Democracy Now has the interview Juan Cole: Mass Sunni Uprising Forces Iraq to Confront Sectarian Blowback of 2003 U.S. Invasion.

ARON MATÉ: And, Juan Cole, how would you characterize this conflict right now? When we talk about ISIS, it’s generally referred to as this monolithic force, but of course there are many militant groups that comprise this pushback against the Iraqi government. So, your assessment of the overall picture right now?

JUAN COLE: I don’t believe that we can think about the—what has happened in Iraq as a series of military conquests. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is a small group, a few thousand fighters. It doesn’t have formations or brigades. And I think what really happened was that they have cells on the ground in the Sunni Arab cities, and they coordinated with other groups, including secular and socialist groups, like ex-Baathists, to stage urban uprisings against the al-Maliki regime and its security forces. So, I think that this is a very complex phenomenon and an expression of popular discontent, and not just a series of military advances.
JUAN COLE: Well, the Bush administration very explicitly sided with the Shiites and wanted to create a Shiite-dominated government and enthusiastically cooperated in the de-Baathification or the firing of thousands and thousands of Sunni bureaucrats and teachers from their jobs. So this—this was a policy of the Bush administration, and it is, in some large part, responsible for the current crisis.

Here is the link  to Juan Cole’s blog Informed Comment that is mentioned several times in the video.

Thanks to Marden Seavey’s posting this on his Facebook wall.

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