UN Envoy: Iraq, Syrian Wars Are ‘Merging’

Not Just Spillover Anymore, Officials Say

by Jason Ditz, July 16, 2013

For quite some time, we’ve been talking about spillover violence in Iraq, with Syria’s Civil War playing a big role in the escalation of violence in western Iraq, even as Iraqi militant groups cross into Syria to bolster the war there.

But UN officials say that increasingly the term “spillover” doesn’t make sense, and that the two wars are simply merging into one war, covering two countries (and sometimes three with fighting in Lebanon).

UN envoy to Iraq Martin Kobler says that Iraq, as the “fault line between the Shia and the Sunni world,” will be impacted most by the Syrian war, and that fighters from both sides have gone to Syria to fight one another there.

That’s been true for awhile, and Syria’s conflict has increasingly regional implications, but Iraq had a borderline sectarian civil war going as it was, and the “merger” will make the war even harder to settle as more countries find themselves part of it.

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