The Telegraph reports that Iraq's Sunni minority are suffering a backlash from both sides in that country's civil war. Here's an excerpt.
Whole stretches of Iraqi territory [have been] cleared of jihadists, but cleared for no obvious purpose as far as the local residents are concerned.
They are not allowed to return, for fear that they will once again provide cover for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
If ever there were a modern equivalent of the Romans’ determination to “create a desert and call it peace”, this is it.
. . .
What it means, though, is that Sunnis are being punished collectively for the sins of Isil, with the ensuing risk of deepening sectarianism still further.
The effect is visibly devastating ... they move from one place to another for as long as they have money or relatives who will put them up. Then it is to windswept tent settlements in the desert, sheltering in shacks from the sandstorms from dawn till night.
. . .
The Sunnis who keep up the fight against Isil are under threat from both sides, according to Sheikh Hikmat al-Gaoud, one of the more charismatic young Sunni leaders.
He and several thousand tribal fighters, army soldiers and western advisers have been surrounded for months in a patch of territory west of Ramadi. His tribe, the Albu Nimr, is particularly hated by Isil, which killed 400 of them in a massacre in November.
Nevertheless, two weeks ago, Shia militiamen - supposedly his allies against Isil - forced their way into his house in the middle of the night, accusing him both of being an Isil spy and of working for the Americans. If he hadn’t been rescued, they would have killed him, he said.
He sought refuge with the Americans inside Camp Asad, a base in government hands in the belt, and was finally flown to safety in Baghdad. “Now I am almost tempted to join Isil,” he said.
. . .
This is not a straightforward war, where bombing matters; but nor is it a matter of hearts and minds, since Isil does not care about the disintegration of Sunni morale, but profits from it. This is a new paradigm of war, and Iraq awaits a new strategy to deal with it.
There's more at the link.
It's the same old story. I saw it many times in Africa, in over a dozen countries. The strong take what they want and/or can hold. Their opponents fight them to take it back, or take it away. The 'ordinary people' are trapped in the middle, prey for the 'hard men' on both sides, who'll use, abuse and exploit them as often and as much as they can get away with.
It's a pretty dismal picture of humanity, and shows that despite all the millennia of 'civilization' and 'progress' human society can boast, it's a veneer only skin deep. Dystopian novels are all very well. Today the Sunnis of Iraq are living the reality, along with many other groups in other parts of the world.
Spare a thought for them - and a prayer, if you're so inclined.