As ISIS Assault Looms, Baghdad Rounds Up Suspected Sympathizers

Sunnis Complain About Govt Intimidation

If you didn’t think the situation in Iraq could get any more divisive on a sectarian: prepare to be surprised, as Iraqi forces are moving to round up Sunnis they accuse of planning to join in an ISIS assault on the capital city.

As ISIS takes the cities surrounding Baghdad, a direct invasion of the capital itself is inevitable. While the military has made some effort to gear up for such a fight, the focus right now seems to be on intimidating local Sunnis, and accusing them of planning betrayal.

Iraq is dubbing them “sleeper cells” of ISIS, and claims there are 1,000 on the outskirts of Baghdad, and another 1,500 inside Western Baghdad itself, strategically clustered around the Green Zone.

The Green Zone comments appear to be in part an effort to coax the US into further escalation, as it houses the massive US embassy. Western Baghdad likewise covers the entire area between the Green Zone and the airport, meaning the losses could severely impede evacuation of the embassy.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.