With 2014 less than six months away and the American withdrawal from Afghanistan along with it, many are wondering what is in store. One place we might find a clue is Iraq. After all, this is the location of the most recent American invasion, occupation, and withdrawal and, as with Afghanistan many blamed the violence on the American occupation. It has been two years since President Obama withdrew American forces from Iraq, so what does the country look like now?
Sadly, despite the removal of foreign troops, violence continues to rise. Actually, sectarian violence has killed 50 people in the last two days.
This is not a new trend. Actually, it has been taking place regularly since the past several years as Sunni and Shia militants battle for domination. Only difference is that now there is nothing that can be blamed on the West, and there is nothing that the West can do to stop it.
Obviously this does not mean that the answers to all our problems are to be found in the American intervention. But it also means that we cannot continue to ignore our problems and blame them on ‘foreign elements’ and ‘hidden hands’. The hands that are planning and carrying out sectarian attacks in Pakistan are not hidden, and neither are those who are making their own plans for the American withdrawal from the region next year.
The lesson of post-American withdrawal Iraq is that we can no longer afford to be burying our heads in the sand when it comes to the militants within our own society, otherwise we it not only our heads that we will be burying.