Shiite militia decapitates Sunni tribal leadership in Baghdad
During the US occupation of Iraq, Shiite militias in Baghdad murdered hundreds of Sunni and forced tens of thousands from their homes. The entire city was flipped from majority Sunni to majority Shiite. It is because of the Sunni/Shiite conflict that many Sunni support, or at least tolerate ISIS.
Presently the city of Baghdad is under the control of the Shiite militia, including the powerful and notorious Mahdi Army/Promise Day Brigade run by Muqtada al-Sadr. During the US occupation the Mahdi army fought both US troops and carried out massacres of Sunni. Eventually the United States paid them to lay down their arms.
Once again, Shiite militia are accused of murdering Sunni and cleansing more neighborhoods. International aid groups have been pleading with the Iraqi parliament to reign in the Shiite militias. ISIS has capitalized on this conflict. ISI, the predecessor to ISIS, attacked Shiite holy sites to exacerbate the Sunni/Shiite sectarian war.
However, things have just escalated in a huge way. A Shiite militia attacked the convoy of Sheik Qasim al-Janabi, the leader of a Sunni tribe. al-Janabi, his son, and seven other members of his entourage where kidnapped, and then murdered. The nephew of al-Janabi, who is also a member of the Iraqi parliament, was kidnapped, beaten, but released.
The kidnapping took place right in the center of Baghdad. al-Janabi and his entourage was stopped at a fake checkpoint by men wearing uniforms of the Iraqi army.
al-Janabi was considered a “moderate” who opposed ISIS and was willing to work with Shiites. In Arab culture, his murder demands serious retaliation. The murders took place just days after a meeting between Sunni tribal representatives and George Bush. The Shiite dominated government is refusing to provide weapons to Sunni to fight ISIS. Former president George Bush is trying to build support in Congress to side-step the Iraq government and arm Sunni tribal militia directly.
Shiites view all armed Sunni as potential enemies. The former Sunni militia, known as Son of Iraq, was created during the Bush administration. The Shiite dominated government was supposed to continue funding it after the US left. Instead, funding was cancelled in 2013 and the Shiite Prime Minister denounced the Sons of Iraq as a dangerous 5th column.
The entire Sunni Arab delegation of the Iraqi parliament is threatening to walk out, effectively dissolving the Federal government of Iraq. Sunni MP Raad al-Dahlaki stated that “the bullet that shot Sheikh Qasim also shot at the heart of national reconciliation.”
Sunni MPs have been holding discussions around the clock for the past day and half. If Sunni MPs walk out of parliament it will almost certainly mean a dramatic escalation of sectarian violence in Iraq.