Konflikten mellom shiaer og sunnier i Irak er høyere enn på lenge. Nylig var det sammenstøt mellom den shia-dominerte hæren og en ny sunni-milits som etterlot titall døde. Det er sunni-opprøret i Syria som inspirerer sunniene i Irak. De anklager Nouri al-Malikis regjering for å være et haleheng til Iran.

Den nye sunni-militsen springer ut av Saddam Husseins Republikanergarde.

The group, the Men of the Army of the Naqshbandia Order, commonly known by the initials of its Arabic name, J.R.T.N., has emerged as a potential alternative to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia for Sunnis who have long felt deeply marginalized under Iraq’s Shiite-led government and are taking up arms once again. Passions were ignited last week after a raid by security forces on a Sunni protest camp in the northern village of Hawija, a stronghold for the group, left dozens dead.


Martin Kobler, the United Nations’ representative in Iraq, recently warned that the country “could head towards the unknown.” The International Crisis Group, a conflict-prevention organization, said Iraq “has begun a perilous, downward slide toward confrontation.”

The fear that has gripped Iraq reflects the shifting nature of the recent violence. Random explosions have only a limited ability to challenge the authority of the state, partly because so many leaders, Sunnis and other citizens have disavowed such attacks. But what Iraqis are seeing now is entirely different: large numbers of Sunni men are picking up weapons, forming militia units and pledging to fight the government.

Situasjonen i Syria har påvirket Irak. Der er det sunniene som er i flertall. I Irak er det shiaene, men sunniene styrte under Saddam Hussein. Sunniene føler seg tilsidesatt.

Ifølge New York Times er det Baath-partifolk som trekker i trådene. De spiller på nasjonalistiske følelser i forhold til Iran.

“What happened in Hawija is a trap that the government is falling into, to impose the same thing that is happening in Syria,” said Ghazi al-Zaidi, 62, a Sunni in Diyala Province. “The violence is going to inflame Iraqis to prepare for a revolution against the government, and bring more sympathy to those who are forming forces that will fight against the government.”

In its statements in recent days, the Naqshbandia group, which is said to be led by Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, Mr. Hussein’s top adviser and the highest-ranking member of the former government to elude capture, has sounded emboldened. It has said once-peaceful protesters have “joined our army and are fighting” under the group’s banner and has vowed to march on Baghdad.

Gruppen har lært av feilene til Al Qaida i Irak, og unngår å angripe sivile. Men den har angrepet den såkalte Arab Awakening, sunniene som gikk i amerikansk tjeneste for å bekjempe Al Qaida.

The group has connections to Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam, but also to the Baath Party, and it portrays itself as a guardian of Arab nationalism. In 2011, Mr. Knights predicted that the group could lead “Iraq’s next insurgency.” He described the outfit as having learned from the mistakes of Al Qaeda by creating a “hybrid of Islamist themes and nationalist military expertise.”


“If J.R.T.N. becomes the face of violent Sunni resistance, then the Anbar sheiks could go along with it,” said Kenneth M. Pollack, an Iraq expert and an analyst at the Brookings Institution.