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Op-Ed: Exclusion policies produce criminals and ISIS terrorists

Kurdish legal consultant, writer and journalist Chiman Salih claims that exclusion and sectarian policies helped create the ground for the formation of ISIS and other terrorist groups.
Archive Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Some recent statements and policies indicate that the free world is retreating from Middle Eastern affairs. This coincides with the promotion of a wave of radicalism throughout the region, which negatively affects the lives of the local people and the diversity in ethnic culture and religion.

Let’s take Mosul for example. Mosul is the second largest Sunni-inhabited city of Iraq. Recently, I heard that a high number of youths from the western part of the city are selling their kidneys. These youths are between the ages 18 and 25 and their kidneys are being sold for $700-$800, an amount of money that a family can only barely live on for about a month. I even heard that one youth sold one of his kidneys just so that he could buy an iPhone. This is no longer hearsay. It is the unfortunate reality.

Regrettably, this reality is the result of bad policies based on doctrinal distinction and pan-Shi’ism that started to take effect starting with the term of the previous prime minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, who dismissed a large number of Sunnis from military service and government jobs. He not only started to push Sunnis out but also worked to force the US forces to withdraw from Iraq. At the same time, former US president Barack Obama was also eager to withdraw the US forces. Former CIA Director David Petraeus has confirmed this on many occasions. Petraeus, who is expert in counter-terrorism, repeatedly attributed the ISIS emergence in this wide and brutal manner to the doctrinal base policies in Iraq and the withdrawal of the US forces.

Implementing any policy based on doctrinal and sectarian trends will result in severe poverty and the sense of treachery and injustice, which in turn produces criminals. When the free world withdraws from the Middle East, especially from countries where citizens aren’t really free and have barely any rights, these issues only worsen. The young boys who are selling their kidneys will have no hope now and will most likely end up in some criminal group-- or even worse, a terrorist organization.

These kinds of policies are the main reason behind the emergence of terrorist groups like ISIS. When people are ready to give up a very important part of their body for a trivial amount of money, the atrocities committed by ISIS over the past few years in Iraq don’t seem too surprising all of a sudden.

JOL Blogger | Chiman Salih

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