It is likely that the terrorist group is benefiting from the chaos that is engulfing neighbouring Syria and is making the most of the general anger among the Iraqi population towards its “liberators”.
The rise of Daesh was made easier in 2014 when the trust between the leaders of Iraq and the people disintegrated. For the previous year, the group has quietly worked its way around groups that opposed the state.
At the same time, Nouri Al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, had gathered the support of Iran to combat Sunnis and political opponents.
A similar situation is brewing and it looks like the Iran-backed Shiite militants will be victorious in the elections next month. This means that we may once again see a government that relies on paramilitary supremacy.
The situation has come about like this because Iran spotted an opportunity when Daesh was removed. Ironically, these Iran-backed militias played a minimal role in getting rid of the group. Instead of defeating terrorists, the militias are more skilled at creating and fuelling conflict, much like Iran itself.
Looking at the situation from afar, it is hard to see how much Iran has influenced the country, but zoning into certain areas, the threat becomes clear. For example, in the central parts of the country, Sunnis were a majority but millions have been displaced and militants are blocking their return.
Also, many people had their identification documents destroyed by Daesh, and the Iran-backed militias are ensuring that they face difficulty getting them replaced – leaving many unable to vote.
The West had, for many years, been involved in Iraq’s political process to make sure everything went as it should. However, over time, involvement has decreased and the inevitable has happened. There is a reluctance on the part of the international community to take decisive action.
The UN Security Council was once relied upon for resolution to the conflicts, but no longer.
The real problems in Iraq are all to do with Iran and its involvement. Much like the situation in Syria where Iran is propping up Syrian President Bashar al Assad. If the West wants to take action to resolve the conflicts in the Middle East and prevent the rise (again) of Daesh, it is imperative that Iran is dealt with.
It must be recognised that the “defeat” of Daesh cannot be seen as a victory in any shape or form. Instead of defeating one form of evil, a space has been created that is letting more sectarianism and terrorism thrive.
If paramilitary factions gain power in Iraq, Iran will be able to continue its quest for regional hegemony. It will be a huge boost to a regime that is ready to stop at nothing to keep its clutch on power.