The questions that linger after declaring the defeat of ISIS

And after all these grievances and injustices, you want us to hypocritically believe that ISIS is over?

As the last pockets of the Islamic State (ISIS) are cleared, we must revisit the origin of this monster that terrified the entire world from its birth until its miserable, inevitable demise.

On December 25, 2012, in the central Iraq city of Ramadi, the agents of the weird and suspicious coalition between the Qatari riyal, Turkish Islam and Iranian Taqiyya suddenly became the leaders, financiers and main conductors of a wave of Sunni demonstrations. They came up with the sit-ins in Anbar first and then in the other six Sunni provinces of Iraq.

The strange coalition found its way to raising the ceiling of its demands. It was no longer a matter of requesting the Maliki-Soleimani government yield to the legitimate demands of the demonstrators. There were many innocent and sincere people among them but the protesters quickly started waving the threat of invading Baghdad, overthrowing the government and establishing a nationalistic Sunni sectarian caliphate on its ruins.

Quickly Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki jumped to exploit the threats as a legitimate pretext to occupy Baghdad and mobilised his own armies on January 30, 2013. He stormed Ramadi, crushing the protesters to their last, regardless of whether they were guilty or innocent. Then he humiliated the entire Sunni sect, which he knows is detested and despised by his master, the Iranian velayat-e faqih, quite satisfied with meting sectarian vengeance.

This is when and where sprouted that malicious tree that went by the name of the Islamic State (ISIS). Its mercenaries, cutthroats and bombers proudly donned the garb of the mujahedeen rebels, who were totally devoted to defending only Allah, His Messenger and the believers.

It was only a matter of time and in the normal course of things that these backward hordes were joined by the remnants of Zarqawi brigades, the men of Naqshbandi and the remnants of the worst, most stupid, most ignorant and most sectarian and racist Ba’athists, who were out for blood and revenge.

On June 9, 2014, ISIS forces drove away the regular Iraqi Army from Mosul and that’s how the nefarious story of ISIS began.

The Islamic Caliphate expanded in Iraq and Syria but came head to head with the armies of the coalition (Turkey, Syria, Iran, the United States and the hordes of the Popular Mobilisation Forces). The allied armies pursued ISIS forces everywhere, liberated the country and the people from its evils and uprooted it for good, or so we were told. That’s the story of ISIS in a nutshell.

Now that the war on ISIS is about to come to an end, we have the right to ask these questions:

Is it true that ISIS is completely dead?

How do we know that it doesn’t have remnants and dormant cells in mosques, schools, homes, radio stations, satellite channels and internet sites?

Have the environments and conditions that spawned it ceased to exist in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya and the Palestinian territories?

Have we really achieved social justice and equality in Iraq such that sectarian origin is no longer the qualifying criterion for jobs or government attention?

Is the reign of militias over and are all Iraqis loyal to only their homeland?

Have the prisons of Maliki, Haider al-Abadi and Adel Abdul-Mahdi been emptied of their innocent men, women and children or is the old injustice the same, the old marginalisation the same, the old embezzlement practices the same and the old corruption the same?

Why is Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani still the one and same old ruler who hands out positions, wages and gains?

This is how it has always been in Iraq and how it shall remain until that great liberator US President Donald Trump and his widespread armies in Iraq and Syria start distinguishing the light of day.

How can we really believe that Syrian President Bashar Assad is the one and the only alternative there is in Syria, where there is no home left without a funeral and no street without blood?

Is it true that the United States, Russia and Israel cannot kick Iran out of Syria and Iraq and drive out its Iraqi agents, Hassan Nasrallah, al-Nujaba, al-Asa’ib, Abu Fadl al-Abbas and dozens of militias that are no different from ISIS?

Are we expected to believe that the combined might of the United States, France, Britain and Italy is unable to prevent Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani’s Qatar from tampering with the security of the Libyans and unable to prevent them from continuing the policy of bestowing money, weapons and fighters on the mujahedeen in Libya?

Should we believe that the United States, Russia, Europe, China and their Arab and Islamic allies are incapable, with just one stroke of the pen, of undoing Iran’s generosity towards the Houthis and stopping Iranian supplies of money, rockets and men and extinguishing the fire of strife in poor unhappy Yemen?

And what about the Palestinians? By word and deed, Trump has unleashed the hands of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to choke the life out of the Palestinians, take their livelihoods, their dignity and the future of their children who were born in exile and will continue to live in exile.

The questions in this context are endless but nobody really seems to read them or hear them. And after all these grievances and injustices, you want us to hypocritically believe that ISIS is over?

Ibrahim al-Zoubeidi is an Iraqi writer.

This article was originally published in The Arab Weekly.