BAGHDAD, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- A U.S. Army major general says the real struggle in Iraq is over power and influence, not because of sectarian conflict.
The sectarian strife between Sunni and Shiite factions in Iraq is often attributed with a large portion of the violence plaguing U.S. military operations. Army Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch says that much of Iraq’s current violence is actually the struggle for power and influence, the American Forces Press Services reported.
“This is not black and white here. It’s all shades of gray, and there’s a mixture of extremist elements and terror elements and criminal activity. It’s all of the above,” said Lynch, commander of Multinational Division Center and Task Force Marne.
Lynch says he believes there are many layers to the security situation in Iraq. Although varied by area, Lynch outlined Sunni extremists, Shiite extremists and Iranian interference in the form of equipment and training as three general sources of violence.
Lynch says during conversations he had with Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. in 2006 the two agreed that the biggest motivator for violence in Iraq is the question of who is going to be in charge.
“We came to the conclusion that the primary concern inside of Iraq was a struggle for power and influence. It’s naive to believe that all sorts of violence inside of Iraq is Sunni vs. Shiia or Shiia vs. Sunni; that’s just not true. And when you find intra-Shiia rivalry, it’s primarily a function of the struggle for power and influence,” Lynch said. “We see that a lot across our battlespace.”
The Multinational Division Center’s area of operations includes the provinces around Baghdad.